Regular readers of ACAP Latest News over the last five years will be well aware of the devastation that long-introduced House Mice Mus musculus are causing to the birds of Gough Island, including to its near-endemic and Critically Endangered Tristan Albatross Diomedea dabbenena (click here).
Rob Ronconi holds a Tristan Albatross chick badly wounded by mice, it died soon after; photograph by Peter Ryan
Mice attack the rump of a Tristan Albatross chick at night; photograph by Ross Wanless
After an eradication feasibility study conducted in 2008 and the subsequent completion of all the research it recommended, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB, United Kingdom Partner of BirdLife International) has now commenced fund raising for the UK£ 6.1 million considered required to cover all the costs of an eradication campaign by an aerial drop of poison bait from helicopters. The eradication effort is currently scheduled to take place during the austral winter of 2019.
Click here for an illustrated information brochure about the eradication programme (a hard copy is available on request) and view the mouse attack video - not for the faint hearted! A donation page has also been set up to receive contributions.
MIPEP's Keith Springer part of the team
The Gough Island Restoration Programme team includes the much-experienced New Zealander Keith Springer as Operational Advisor responsible for co-ordinating logistics, contracts and tendering. Keith managed the successful Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project (MIPEP) to remove that island's rodents and rabbits. More recently he was part of Team Rat that has worked to eradicate rodents on South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)* and is currently the Operational Advisor for the Million Dollar Mouse Project to eradicate House Mice on New Zealand's Antipodes Island, now underway. Keith is due to travel to Gough for the first time with the annual relief of the South African base on the island this September. Read more on the UK-New Zealand connection at Gough Island here.
With thanks to John Kelly, International Species Recovery Programme Manager, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, UK.
John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 02 June 2016
*A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (Islas Georgias del Sur y Islas Sandwich del Sur) and the surrounding maritime areas.