Rats gone from Alaska island

JUNEAU, Alaska — Five years after undertaking an effort to eradicate rats from a remote Alaska island, conservationists and federal wildlife officials are reporting success.

They say the island, once known as Rat Island because of its infestation of invasive Norway rats, is now teeming with birds, whose noises replace the silence that had been reported there earlier.

They also say for the first time breeding tufted puffins have been documented on the island, which is not inhabited by people and is in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge. Some other bird species are reported to be growing in number, as well.

The makeover of the island includes a name change. What was long known as Rat Island is now officially called Hawadax Island, a nod to the original Aleut name.

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