Alaska's remote Rat Island gets a new name

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — With the rats dead and gone from Rat Island, the Alaska island has a new name.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Board on Geographic Names approved a new moniker for the remote, uninhabited island after area residents lobbied for something that would better reflect their Aleut history and traditions.

The island will now be known as Hawadax (How-ah-thaa), which originates from a word meaning "those two over there" or "entry" or "welcome."

Rat Island is located in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and is at the far end of the Aleutian Island chain that stretches out into the Bering Sea.

It became infested with Norway rats after the rodents jumped ship in the late 1700s. The creatures multiplied, and in 1937 the island became officially known as Rat Island.

A project several years ago to eradicate rats and restore birds to the 6,681-acre island was a success.

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