Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels

From the Antipodes to the Shiants via the South Atlantic: field teams are checking three seabird islands for the presence of rodents after eradication efforts

A 10-strong monitoring team, along with three rodent-detection dogs, is about to spend three weeks on New Zealand’s Antipodes Island searching for signs of House Mice Mus musculus. The team will be transported to the island next week by the New Zealand Defence Force (click here).  This follows on from the poison bait drop carried out by the Million Dollar Mouse campaign 18 months ago (equal to two austral summers) in July 2016. It is expected that monitoring tools will also include ink-tracking cards, wax tags and chew cards designed to show the presence of mice (click here).  Follow the history of the Antipodes eradication project here.

The Antipodean Albatross Diomedea antipodensis that breeds on the island has recently been uplisted to globally Endangered (from Vulnerable) due to “a very rapid decline in population size” (click here).

antipodean abatrosses erica sommer 2

A pair of Antipodean Albatrosses, photograph by Erica Sommer

Meanwhile, at the other side of the world on a small Scottish island a team led by ‘Biz’ Bell of New Zealand’s Wildlife Management International is using chocolate wax blocks to detect signs of any remaining Black Rats Rattus rattus following the laying of bait stations on the Shiant Isles two years ago (click here). Results of the post-eradication investigation are expected by month end (click here). It is hoped Manx Shearwaters Puffinus puffinus will colonize the island in the absence of rodents.

In the South Atlantic this austral summer field teams with three detection dogs have been searching for any remaining rodents on South Georgia/Islas Georgias del Sur* since November, following poison bait drops on the island over three separate austral summers from 2011 to 2015 (click here). The survey is set to be completed in April.

ACAP Latest News will report on the outcomes of these three post-eradication investigations as information becomes available.

John Cooper, ACAP Information Officer, 08 February 2018

*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.