Saving the Tristan Albatross from Extinction ~ Mice Eradication on Gough Island.
June 12, 2019
BENEFITING: FOUNDATION FOR ANTARCTIC RESEARCH
Giant invasive “mega-mice” on Gough Island are set to be eradicated in one of the most ambitious projects of its kind, which will save two million seabird eggs and chicks a year from being eaten in the nest.
For birds on Gough Island, the nightmare is real. Invasive mice, with no natural predators, have evolved to grow fifty percent larger than the average house mouse and to rely on a sinister food source. They gather at night, forming groups of up to nine and descending upon chicks in the nest, eating them alive. Now, a study published in Ibis Journal has revealed that the scale of this devastation is far greater than we ever thought, resulting in that at least two million fewer chicks a year than there would be had the mice never arrived. If the 19th century seal hunters who accidentally introduced the mice knew how harmful these rodents would become, they might have been more careful about where they docked their ships.
Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of one of the most ambitious mouse eradication projects ever attempted, which will benefit six Globally Threatened species at once, finally allowing populations to recover. Our UK Partner the RSPB has teamed up with Tristan da Cunha government, with help from across the world*, to develop The Gough Island Restoration Programme, set to begin in 2020.