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Conservation biologist Dr. James Russell works throughout the world on remote islands and other sites to provide conservation solutions by applying a combination of scientific methods. In 2015 he is working on a Scientist without Frontiers programme in Brazil. For his work in island conservation he was awarded a 2014 Rutherford Discovery Fellowship, the 2012 New Zealand Prime Minister's Emerging Scientist prize and a 2011 Chinese Academy of Sciences Young International Scientist Fellowship.

Follow James on National Geographic blogs for regular updates on his own work or other exciting developments in island conservation.

Four Critically Endangered Takahe Killed in New Zealand Cull

It was reported today in New Zealand that during an authorised cull of overly abundant pukekos on Motutapu Island reserve four critically endangered and somewhat closely appearing takahe were also shot. Anyone choosing to kill a target, whether for hunting or pest control, or any other reason, must always act in the most responsible way possible, as the taking of another individual’s life should never be done lightly.

Biosecurity Protects Islands

Without island biosecurity pests will rapidly recolonize islands from which they have been eradicated, or worse still colonise islands for the first time. Only with a rigorous audited biosecurity programme can pest-free status be maintained.

Eradication of Rats from Banco Chinchorro Confirmed

Colleagues from Mexico have just announced the successful eradication of introduced mammals from the massive Banco Chinchorro reef complex off the Yucatan peninsula. Mexico has aggressively tackled the problem of invasive species eradication on islands over the past decade.

Forest and Bird, and Bats and Weta, and Marine Reserves

This weekend the New Zealand Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society had their 92nd Annual General Meeting in Wellington.

Conservation Dogs to the Rescue!

Eradicating rodents from islands is only half the battle. After eradication, it is vital to protect the investment by preventing rodents re-establishing. Conservation dogs are an additional monitoring tool.

Winter in the Subantarctic: A Short Film

In 2013 the National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration funded our expedition to Subantarctic Antipodes Island. Winter in the Subantarctic is a short film (2015) recorded on that expedition.

Predator Free New Zealand: Conservation Country

New Zealand was one of the last places on earth to be colonised by humans, just over 1000 years ago. Ever since, New Zealand has lived the legacy of these impacts.

Where Have All the Pests on Auckland Island Gone?

Life on the Auckland Islands is hard. Just ask the settlers of Hardwicke who in 1849 were part of the shortest lived British settlement ever – 2 years and 9 months. The Maori only lasted 10 more years themselves.

Tropical Island Conservation: Rat Eradication for Species Recovery

Having just returned from Fernando de Noronha the plight of tropical islands under attack from invasive species is still at the forefront of my thoughts. Can the techniques we have developed in temperate latitudes on uninhabited islands be applied so readily to inhabited tropical islands?

Cat and Mouse vs. Bird on a Tropical Island

The bird species that have lived on Fernando de Noronha for millions of years have new predators to battle: introduced cats, rats, and a three-foot Brazilian lizard. Can they survive?

Island’s Invasive Species Wreak Havoc: How Did They Get Here?

Invasive cats, rats, and lizards are wreaking havoc on the native species of Fernando de Noronha. How did they all get here?

A Day in the Life of a Researcher in Search of Rats

The last twenty-four hours on Fernando de Noronha have been non-stop, non-sleep, and action filled, and not just because it’s been Carnival in Brazil.

500 Years on a Tropic Island in 500 Words or Less

When studying invasive species on a remote island, it helps to know the island’s history. And this one’s good.

First Impressions of Fernando de Noronha

As we watch the sunset from a rocky promenade, a rodent known in Brazil as mocó, darts around, and I realize the islands must have many surprises in store for me.

Expedition Begins Amid Drought in São Paulo

After 16 hours of flying, I’m keen for a shower. Unfortunately for me, but much more so for the rest of São Paulo, the city is falling in to the grip of its worst drought since 1930.