An area-wide integrated tsetse eradication project was initiated in Zanzibar in 1994 by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the governments of Tanzania and Zanzibar, to eradicate Glossina austeni Newstead from Unguja Island (Zanzibar) using the sterile insect technique. Suppression of the tsetse population on Unguja was initiated in 1988 by applying residual pyrethroids as a pour-on formulation to livestock and by the deployment of insecticide impregnated screens in some of the forested areas. This was followed by sequential releases of gamma-sterilized male flies by light aircraft. The flies, packaged in carton release containers, were dispersed twice a week along specific flight lines separated by a distance of 1-2 km. More than 8.5 million sterile male flies were released by air from August 1994 to December 1997. A sterile to indigenous male ratio of >50:1 was obtained in mid-1995 and it increased to >100:1 by the end of 1995. As a consequence the proportion of sampled young females (1-2 ovulations), with an egg in utero in embryonic arrest or an uterus empty as a result of expulsion of a dead embryo, increased from 70% in the last quarter of 1995. In addition, the age structure of the female population became significantly distorted in favor of old flies (> or = 4 ovulations) by the end of 1995. The apparent density of the indigenous fly population declined rapidly in the last quarter of 1995, followed by a population crash in the beginning of 1996. The last trapped indigenous male and female flies were found in weeks 32 and 36, 1996, respectively. Time for 6 fly generations elapsed between the last catch of an indigenous fly and the end of the sterile male releases in December 1997.