Last week the Gough Island Restoration Programme got underway to rid the island of its introduced House Mice Mus musculus that attack and kill chicks of the Critically Endangered and near-endemic Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena (and of other of the island's breeding birds). South Africa's Antarctic ship, the S.A. Agulhas II, sailed from Cape Town on its annual relief voyage to Gough Island on 2 September with a five-person advance party from the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife South Africa's Seabird Conservation Programme aboard to start setting up for next year's planned eradication of the mice.
Tristan Albatross chick severely wounded by mice, photograph by Karen Bourgeois & Sylvain Dromzee
The team is taking out materials for erecting aviaries for protecting the island’s two species of threatened land birds during the poison bait drop and an emergency hut manufactured by South Africa, as well as needed equipment such as tents. Listen to a dockside video clip featuring Team Leader Andrew Callender filmed by the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa project.
John Cooper, ACAP information Officer, 11 September 2019