Expert Working Group on Christmas Island's biodiversity
In 2009 a scientific Expert Working Group was established, primarily in response to the decline of the Christmas Island pipistrelle, (Pipistrellus murrayi), the island's only insectivorous bat. The Group was tasked with examining biodiversity management and all threats to the island's ecology.
The Expert Working Group’s final 2010 report highlighted pervasive and increasing threats to the island's biodiversity. It reinforces the need to look beyond individual species to maintain the health of the entire ecosystem.
The experts made 32 broad-ranging recommendations aimed at reversing the decline of biodiversity. The recommendations included:
- An island-wide management plan for the control of black rats and feral cats
- A captive breeding program for native reptiles, including the successful hatching of Lister's geckos previously thought extinct.
- Expansion of helicopter baiting to control yellow crazy ants over larger areas of the island.
- Establishment of a Christmas Island Conservation Research Centre.
- Research into rat eradication and major threats to the endemic flying fox
- Improved quarantine control.
- Improved island governance, with a focus on coastal marine waters.
Many recommendations have already been implemented by park managers and the report itself has informed the development of the park’s management plan for the next decade.