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State investigates dead fish, birds on Lehua Island after rodenticide drop

  • COURTESY STATE DLNR

    A helicopter drops rodenticide pellets on Lehua Island, off Niihau, last month.

The state is investigating the cause of dead fish and birds following the dropping of rodenticide to eradicate invasive rats on Lehua Island, officials said today.

“However unlikely the connection, the project partners take any potential risks to non-target species and marine life extremely seriously” state Department of Land and Natural Resources officials said in a news release this afternoon.

After images of dead birds and fish were posted on social media, monitoring teams confirmed and collected 45 dead fish, which appear to be mullets, and two dead birds, which appear to be juvenile Brown boobies, on the north side of the island.

A DLNR vessel is expected to leave from Kauai for the tiny island off of Niihau at dawn on Wednesday with biologists and other members to get a closer look at the crater-side of Lehua Island, officials said.

Samples from the dead fish and birds are being tested for the presence of diphacinone, which was in the rodenticide dropped on the island late last month. A third and final application of the rodenticide is planned in the next few weeks.

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