Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

Feasibility study for the eradication of albatross-attacking House Mice on Marion Island published

BirdLife South Africa has published a study in its new Occasional Report Series that considers the feasibility of eradicating introduced House Mice Mus musculus on South Africa’s sub-Antarctic Marion Island.  Marion’s mice are now known to be attacking ACAP-listed albatrosses and are thus regarded as a serious threat requiring eradication (click here).  The publication follows a site visit last year by New Zealand invasive species expert John Parkes (click here).

Grey headed HAlbatross mice injuries Ben Dilley 

Grey-headed Albatross chicks attacked by mice at Marion Island, photograph by Ben Dilley

The study concludes that “eradication of mice from Marion Island is definitely possible with a high chance of success.”  The study makes a number of operational and research & information recommendations that should be addressed prior to an eradication attempt by aerial baiting.

Following the Parkes report BirdLife South Africa has stated “we do … need to do some further research, to answer key questions relating to the logistics of the mission.  How do we avoid or minimize non-target impacts on some of the birds which will be at risk? How much bait will be needed? When is the best time to start the baiting? These questions are being developed into a research plan that we hope to put into action in 2017” (click here).

With thanks to Ross Wanless.

Reference:

Parkes, J. 2014.  Eradication of House Mice Mus musculus from Marion Island: a Review of Feasibility, Constraints and Risks.  In: Wanless, R.M. (Ed.).  BirdLife South Africa Occasional Report Series No. 1.  Johannesburg: BirdLife South Africa.  27 pp

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 27 September 2016

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