Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

“Team Rat” gets into the field again in the South Atlantic on the biggest island rodent eradication exercise ever

The latest issue (No. 15, February 2013) of Project News, the newsletter of the South Georgia Habitat Restoration Project has been published on line.

The ambitious project aims to eliminate all the introduced rats and mice on the island of South Georgia (Islas Georgias del Sur)* in the South Atlantic. Phase One of the project took place in 2011 and seems to have been successful. This and next year the rest of the island will be treated with poison bait dropped from helicopters.

“Team Rat” arrived at the island in mid-February on the RRS Ernest Shackleton with three Bolköw BO-105 helicopters aboard and has spent the last two weeks establishing depots of helicopter fuel in 200-kg drums and poison bait in 400-kg pods around the island’s shores. Aerial spreading of poison bait is due to commence this month. Let’s hope for good weather!

A Bolköw BO-105 drops poison bait during Phase One in 2011

Photograph courtesy of Tony Martin 

Meanwhile on Australia’s Macquarie Island in the South Pacific there are still no reports of European Rabbits or rodents after its eradication exercise conducted in 2010. A new team of hunters to search for any rabbits possibly remaining arrived on the island this week (click here). This is a task of increasing difficulty as the island’s vegetation recovers from years of grazing.

Over in New Zealand the Million Dollar Mouse Campaign still has some way to go to raise its target of one million NZ Dollars to eradicate the introduced House Mice of Antipodes Island, currently scheduled to take place in 2014. This week the total raised stood at NZ$ 689 130.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 6 March 2013

*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.