Meet the eradication team…Jason Zito

Jason

Jason in Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve on the island of Kauai

Jason Zito from Island Conservation joins the eradication team heading to Antipodes in 6 weeks to eradicate mice from Antipodes.

I graduated from Humboldt State University in 2008 with a B.S. in Wildlife Management and Conservation. I have worked in numerous positions in fields such as: aquaculture, habitat restoration, fisheries management and ornithology. The bulk of my experience has been in Hawaii (Kauai island) where I conducted multi-species predator control to protect native avifauna. I spent 6 years in Hawaii that culminated with my position as coordinator for the Hono O Na Pali Seabird Mitigation Predator Control Project which conducted predator control for feral cats, feral pigs and rats to protect Newells Shearwaters (Puffinus newelli) and Hawaiian Petrels (Pterodroma sandwichensis) that breed in Kauai’s rugged interior. The work was highly demanding both physically and mentally however it allowed me to make my office in one of the most pristine examples of native Hawaiian montane wet forest there is.

Jason in Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve on the island of Kauai

Jason in Hono O Na Pali Natural Area Reserve on the island of Kauai

Omoa valley where Jason worked on Fatu-hiva

Omoa valley where Jason worked on Fatu-hiva

I left Kauai one year ago to join Island Conservation as an Island Restoration Specialist and since then have been involved in invasive vertebrate eradication and control projects in the Dominican Republic, French Polynesia, Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

One of my most rewarding jobs was in French Polynesia on the island of Fatu-hiva in the Marquesas group. I was there to assist Island Conservation’s local partner SOP Manu(Ornithological Society of French Polynesia) in their efforts to control feral cats to protect the critically endangered Fatu-hiva Monarch (Pomarea whitneyi); namely helping them improve their feral cat trap lines as well as maximizing their use of technologies like remote trail cameras. I found this experience especially rewarding as I worked one on one with SOP Manu’s local technician who is a resident of Fatu-hiva. I got to live with him and his family which was a truly  special experience just counting the food alone! The whole trip was a constant trading of our respective knowledge and experiences and I was truly charmed by the beautiful island and its equally beautiful people.

I will be joining the Antipodes Island Mouse Eradication Project as a member of the bait loading team; I heartily look forward to participating in and supporting this effort as well as the opportunity to gain more experience conducting rodent eradications.