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Island beautiful from space, but on land it's another story

Adele Island, as seen from the International Space Station on June 11, 2015. Courtesy NASA.

Adele Island, as seen from the International Space Station on June 11, 2015. Courtesy NASA.


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, August 21, 2015, 5:29 PM - NASA has released a satellite image of Australia's Adele Island. From above, it looks like a tropical paradise. In reality, the island is harbouring thousands of unwanted guests.

Adele Island is infested with thousands of invasive rats. That poses a risk to some of the 24,000 nesting birds that live on the island, because the rodents like to dine on their eggs. 

According to the Invasive Species Compendium, Polynesian rats were introduced to western islands approximately 4,000 years ago but they weren't discovered on Adele Island until 1891. Today, they can be found on several Australian islands, but not the mainland.


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In 2004 officials used 10,000 toxic baits to try and destroy the estimated 8,000 rats on Adele Island. According to The Weather Channel, the endeavour wasn't successful, but NASA reports new efforts are underway to rid the area of the rodents.

The above photograph was taken on June 11, 2015, by a member of the Expedition 44 crew, currently aboard the International Space Station.

Shallow water surrounding the island is light blue, NASA explains on its website.

"During times of low sea level (repeatedly during the glacial stages of the past 1.7 million years), the entire platform and surrounding zones would have been dry ground on a much larger island," the space agency writes.

Adele Island is 2.9 km long and has sandbanks that stretch out for 24.5 km.

Sources: NASA | The Weather Channel

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