Located 20 km southeast of Lord Howe Island, in the Pacific Ocean, Ball’s Pyramid rises 562 meters above the waters. Ball’s Pyramid is all that remains from a shield volcano that was formed 7 million years ago and is the tallest volcanic stack in the world. It was discovered in 1788, by Lieutenant Henry Ball, but no one was able to climb to its summit until 1965. In 1982 climbing was banned and soon after all access to the island was restricted. Nowadays, the policy has changed and climbing is allowed, but only under strict conditions. In 2001 researchers found a small population of Lord Howe Island stick insects, a species thought to have been eradicated by the black rats that were introduced on Howe Island. The 24 rare inhabitants found on Ball’s Pyramid are now being bred in captivity, in hopes of reviving the species.
In 2001, a team of entomologists and conservationists landed on Ball's Pyramid to chart its flora and fauna. To their surprise they rediscovered a population of the Lord Howe Island stick insect (Dryococelus australis) living in an area of 6 by 30 metres (20 by 98 ft), at a height of 100 metres (330 ft) above the shoreline, under a single Melaleuca howeana shrub. The bush was growing in a small crevice where water was seeping through cracks in the underlying rocks. This moisture supported relatively lush plant growth which had, over time, resulted in a build up of plant debris, several metres deep. The population was extremely small, only 24 individuals. Two pairs were brought to two Pacific zoos to breed new populations. On the unsuccessful 1964 climb, Dave Roots had brought back a photograph of the insect, which the Australian Museum told him they thought was extinct.
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