Albatross-eating Mice Responsible for Two Million Fewer Seabird Chicks on UK Island Each Year

Invasive mice on Midway Atoll, Gough Island, and Marion Island have all begun to attack native albatross. In July 2020, Island Conservation and our partners will remove these predatory, invasive mice from Midway but we need your help!


New study finds Albatross-eating Mice present on Gough Island in the South Atlantic are causing 2 Million fewer seabird eggs and chicks every year.

  • Introduced house mice on the UK Overseas Territory of Gough Island in the South Atlantic are killing seabirds at greater levels than feared resulting in at least two million fewer seabird chicks each year
  • Without action, the Tristan albatross is likely to be one of the next UK birds to go globally extinct
  • Plans are underway to save this and other species. The RSPB confirms plan to eradicate the mice in 2020, in one of the most ambitious projects of its kind ever attempted.

New research shows that mice are eating seabird chicks at an alarming rate, resulting in two million fewer seabird eggs and chicks on a single UK island each year and putting some seabird species at the risk of extinction.

The study, supported by the RSPB, found that the number of chicks and eggs surviving on Gough is much lower than it would be if mice were absent. This environmental catastrophe threatens albatrosses and petrels with extinction.

Mice were accidentally introduced by sailors to the remote Gough Island during the 19th century. Now, over 100 years later mice have colonised the entire island, and evolved to be 50% larger than the average house mouse. They have learned to eat the eggs and chicks of the island’s once abundant birds.


A Tristan Albatross chick. Credit: J Cleeland

The island, a World Heritage Site in the South Atlantic is considered one of the most important seabird colonies in the world, hosting more than ten million birds. There are 24 species of bird that nest on the island, 22 of which are seabirds.

Gough Island hosts 99 per cent of the world’s Critically Endangered Tristan albatross and Atlantic petrel populations – two species especially vulnerable to mouse predation because their chicks are left alone in winter. Just 2,000 Tristan albatross pairs now remain.

Author Dr Alex Bond said, “We knew there were large numbers of chicks and eggs being eaten each year but the actual number being taken by the mice is just staggering. The seabirds of Gough Island desperately need our help.”


Tristan albatross. Credit: Ben Dilley

Video cameras placed alongside nests have revealed what happens at the nests. The mice, in groups of up to nine, eat the chicks alive. Albatrosses mate for life, producing just one egg every other year, and parents have been observed returning from a fishing trip to find their chick dead in the nest.

John Kelly, RSPB manager for the Gough Island mouse eradication, said “The RSPB and Tristan da Cunha Island Council have developed an ambitious plan to save the seabirds of Gough Island. The results of this study are a powerful reminder of why we’ve taken this challenge on, to restore the island to its former glory and prevent the future deaths of millions of seabirds.”


Tristan Albatross pair. Credit: Ben Dilley

The RSPB and Tristan da Cunha government, together with international partners including Island Conservation from the USA and the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa, have developed The Gough Island Restoration Programme. Not letting the challenges of working on one of the world’s most remote islands get in the way, the Gough team are planning to eradicate mice from Gough Island in 2020 to stop this disaster once and for all.

Additional quotes

Anthony Caravaggi, lead author and researcher at University College Cork and Queen’s University Belfast said, “We usually think of rats as problem rodents on islands but this shows that house mice can have catastrophic impacts all on their own. If we don’t remove the mice from the island then we’re going to lose several unique species and an important island for breeding seabirds.”

Ian Lavarello, Chief Islander, Tristan da Cunha said, “We have a unique opportunity to save Gough Island and the species that make their home there. If we do nothing, we will eventually lose this amazing South Atlantic seabird mega-colony and its contribution to the world’s oceans will cease. With dedication and rigorous planning, success is possible. Monumental programmes such as this are not without their challenges but the rewards for global conservation are great.”

Defra Minister for non-native species, Lord Gardiner, said, “This study highlights the need for urgent action if we are to save the iconic seabirds of Gough Island. That is why we support RSPB in this project and why we are taking action to tackle the threat posed by non-native invasive species in our overseas territories.”

Invasive mice on Midway Atoll pose the very same threat to the world’s largest Laysan Albatross colony. In July 2020, Island Conservation and our partners will remove this threat, but only if we raise the final $1 million necessary to complete the project. You can help! Donate today!

island conservation save midway albatross conservation donate today

For more information visit


For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact: Martin Fowlie, RSPB Senior Media Officer, on +44 (0)1767 693257 or +44 (0)7740 756624 email

Photographs and radio interviews can be downloaded at

Authors and Affiliations

Anthony Caravaggi- School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, UK; School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University College Cork, UK

Richard J. Cuthbert- RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, UK; Conservation Solutions, UK

Peter G. Ryan – FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, DST-NRF Centre of Excellence, University of Cape Town, South Africa

John Cooper- Department of Botany & Zoology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Alexander L Bond – RSPB Centre for Conservation Science, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, UK; Bird Group, Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, UK

Editor’s notes:

  1. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.
  2. Gough Island is a UK Overseas Territory, part of the Tristan da Cunha Island group
  3. Gough Island became a World Heritage Site in 1995 and in 2016 was reviewed and recommended for change of status to a World Heritage Site in Danger due to the threat of mice. It is also an Important Bird and Biodiversity Area, Ramsar Wetland of International Importance, and part of the Tristan da Cunha Nature Reserve.
  4. The RSPB is leading the planning and implementation of the Gough Island Restoration Programme with Tristan da Cunha. However, Tristan da Cunha and its community are the custodians of Gough Island.
  5. The project is in its final years of preparations before the operation goes ahead in the Southern winter of 2020 (June-September). The complexity and scale of the project means that this is the soonest possible time for eradication to take place.
  6. The RSPB and Tristan da Cunha are partnered with: BirdLife South Africa, the Department of Environmental Affairs (South Africa), Island Conservation, The Fitzpatrick Institute (University of Cape Town, South Africa), Zoological Society of London, World Land Trust, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and the Rothschild Foundation.
  7. The project is funded by the RSPB, UK Government, The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (US), The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the John Ellerman Foundation, the Ludwick Family Foundation and donations from individuals.

Featured photo: A Tristan’s albatross chick near Tafelkoppe. Credit: J Cleelan

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 64 islands worldwide, benefiting 1195 populations of 487 species and subspecies. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species.

View All Posts

Follow Island Conservation on Social Media

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

[ism-social-followers list='fb,tw,li,youtube,instagram' template='ism_template_sf_1' list_align='horizontal' display_counts='false' display_full_name='true' box_align='center' ]

Midway Atoll conservation




%d bloggers like this:
Send this to a friend

thyroid weight loss pills weight loss supplement ads raw food diets for weight loss how to calculate weight loss with diet exercise calotren weight loss pills best walmart brand weight loss pills pcos birth control pills weight loss shakeology diet for weight loss chinese lose weight pills dr berg keto diet recipes best slim weight loss pill running weight loss diet keto diet pills how many to take low carb vegetarian diet for weight loss keto diet crock pot recipes weight loss diet and exercise plan free does a high fibre diet help lose weight female weight loss pills safe natural supplements for weight loss good weight loss pills at gnc best weight loss pills on the market today best diet for heart healthy weight loss cinnamon tablets and weight loss weight loss diet plan in marathi what is the best weight loss herbal supplement weight loss pills containing phentermine free monthly sample of weight loss pills weight loss cutting diet soda hydrocore weight loss pills asset weight loss pills side effects slim bee weight loss pills side dish recipes for keto diet what are natural weight loss pills how to lose weight fast no diet best weight loss pills in india quora how to jumpstart weight loss on a low carb diet best weight loss pills burn fat what is the average weight loss on keto diet xlm weight loss pills indian alkaline diet for weight loss keto top weight loss pills dragons den vegetarian diet plan to lose weight pills for water weight loss how fast can you lose weight on a vegan diet cocaine weight loss diet ana diet weight loss results ayurveda vata diet weight loss good weight loss diet meal plans reddity does exercise or diet affect weight loss loss weight fast pills australia diet that works for fast weight loss keto plus diet pills amazon slow weight loss with low carb diet russian diet to lose weight low fat zero carb diet for weight loss weight loss tablet reviews how do water pills help lose weight dietitian for weight loss near me

medterra cbd oil reviews cbd oil shoulder pain happy tea cbd cbd pure hemp oil 600 amazon smokable cbd cbd plants cbd oil and zoloft cbd oil anxiety study where to buy pure cbd oil cbd molecule png cbd rich hemp oil benefits cbd 5ht1a cbd wholesale products your cbd store davenport cbd oil face cbd oil near me nashville cbd solutions hemp bombs cbd e liquid amlodipine and cbd oil cold pressed cbd oil accommodation in melbourne cbd what is cbd capsules cbd oil mood how do you use cannabis oil whole sale cbd can cbd make you fail a drug test co2 extraction of cbd cbd oil kovaleski pure 7 cbd oil cbd oil latest news medina apartments sydney cbd trinity cbd cbd cannabis capsules is cbd safe while breastfeeding cbd oil muscle growth do you get high from cbd cbd training academy american shaman cbd reviews all you can eat korean bbq sydney cbd cbd trade shows cbd 1000mg gummies indianapolis made cbd oil cbd oil for back nerve pain cbd oil for migraines for sale drugs that may interact with cbd oil green health cbd cbd oil hemp spray cbd oil effectiveness making cbd oil from isolate hemp vs cbd oil strength how to hide cbd oil cbd review sites ezra cbd oil prana pets cbd oil cbd oil business in muskegon google ads cbd cannabis oil prices can you buy cbd oil in ny

noxitril male enhancement pills supplements for ed and pe penis enlargement pill side effects chinese medicine low libido what is the best male enhancer sex drive enhancement blue bull male enhancement review top 10 natural male enhancement pills dr phil male enhancement pills penis enlargement squeeze technigue labidux male enhancement pill lower sex drive birth control pills shemale penis enlargement how well do male enhancement pills work penis enlargement surgery in miami fl mens penis enhancer dr jonathan harris penis enlargement best penis pills that really works buy ed pills online levitra sexual enhancement cream for men ed blue pills male enhancement pills that acully work blood circulation supplements vitamins yohimbe bark male enhancement top rateded ed supplements extended male enhancement all erectile dysfunction drugs what time of day to take extenze pill prescription drug reviews max size male enhancement pills how many pills of extenze a day illegal drugs name list best cheap male enhancement enlarged prostate erectile problems libadorm male enhancement recall pills look like safety of rlx male enhancement best mens sexual enhancer mambos male enhancement penis enlargement homemade big brother pills best male enhancement pills sold at stores white round pill g 25 larger penis pills works or not male orgasim enhancer c89 round white pill benefits of using penis enlargement quick fix penis enlargement cistanche for penis enlargement penis massage enlargement average inch sex drivr in men pills is viagra the best ed drug hard on pills sex store lake worth different viagra pills otc libido booster deer antler male enhancement vitrix reviews libido booster male enhancement pill ratings