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Home* Antarctic News → Mac­qua­rie Island free of rats, mice and rab­bits

Mac­qua­rie Island free of rats, mice and rab­bits

Mac­qua­rie Island is 1500 kilo­me­t­res sou­the­ast of Tas­ma­nia and belongs to Aus­tra­lia. For deca­des, the once so rich sea­bird popu­la­ti­ons of the island have suf­fe­r­ed stron­gly from intro­du­ced rats, mice and rab­bits: eggs and chicks were sto­len from nests by ten thou­sands, bree­ding habi­tat was des­troy­ed, name­ly tus­soc grass, and even a lands­li­de that wiped part of a King pen­gu­in colo­ny out is said to have been cau­sed by ero­si­on on a slo­pe depri­ved of its vege­ta­ti­on by rab­bits.

In 2007, the govern­ments of Aus­tra­lia and Tas­ma­nia laun­ched a pro­ject of 17 mil­li­on Euro to era­di­ca­te the unwan­ted spe­ci­es and turn the island back into its natu­ral sta­te. During a first pha­se, poi­so­ned bait finis­hed most of the ali­ens off. In a second pha­se, hun­ters with dogs made sure not a sin­gle rat, rab­bit or mou­se sur­vi­ved. A two year con­trol pha­se has now con­firm­ed the suc­cessful com­ple­ti­on of the pro­ject.

The era­di­ca­ti­on of feral cats, which had devas­ta­ting effects on the sea­bird colo­nies, was alre­a­dy com­ple­ted in the year 2000.

The Mac­qua­rie Island pro­ject is the lar­gest of its kind so far, and it is fol­lo­wed clo­se­ly by orga­niza­ti­ons run­ning simi­lar pro­jects on other island. The curr­ent­ly lar­gest and most chal­len­ging pro­ject of this kind is the ongo­ing rat era­di­ca­ti­on pro­ject on South Geor­gia.

Mac­qua­rie Island is now offi­ci­al­ly rodent free.

Macquarie Island

Source: ABC News

last modification: 2014-04-09 · copyright: Rolf Stange