By Sahil Makkar For Daily Mail Australia
Published: 03:38 BST, 22 April 2019 | Updated: 03:38 BST, 22 April 2019
A controversial plan to rid a pristine Australian island of its plague of rats has deeply divided the local community.
On Thursday a tribunal ruled that tonnes of rat poison will be airdropped onto Lord Howe Island to exterminate more than 360,000 rats.
Rat poison, PestOff Rodent Bait 20R, is likely to be dropped on the island, which sits 600km off the New South Wales coastline, from next month.
Lord Howe Island is renowned for its spectacular scenery and breeding grounds for colonies of seabirds.
About 16,000 tourists, who visit every year are advised not to eat any fish on the island after the airdrop in case the food chain become contaminated.
Some cattle will also have to be evacuated from the island and walkers will be banned from exploring the forests.
Islanders are being told to cover their roofs with tarps to stop the bait poisoning the water tanks.
Ian Hutton, a member of the Lord Howe Island Tourism Association Committee, says the rodent eradication program is not a radical plan.
'It is a very carefully designed program based on 40 years of very successful programs - originally developed in New Zealand, and some 700 islands worldwide have been treated to remove the