island conservation rewilding an island

Re-wilding an Island

Great Mercury Island, New Zealand is recovering following removal of invasive predators.

In 2014, a population of invasive predators was completely removed from Ahuahu (Great Mercury Island) by the Department of Conservation. Following this intervention, the island’s original predators and keystone species have begun to return. The Pycroft’s Petrel was recorded on the island after a long absence.

island conservation great mercury island

Ahuahu/Great Mercury Island looking south along the white cliffs. Credit: Photo by James Russell

The island restoration will not only be beneficial for native animals:

Ahuahu is also a site of great historical importance for the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand/Aotearoa, and archaeology researchers from the University of Auckland have been undertaking digs on the foreshore to understand the history of the first inhabitants of the island – one of the first locations of New Zealand colonisation. Alongside amazing cultural discoveries, their work also enables us to understand the original ecosystem functioning of the island, by documenting the bird species found in fossil and midden deposits, and using pollen cores to describe the original forest cover of the island. These discoveries will all contribute to the re-wilding of the island in to the future.

Featured photo: Grey-faced Petrel. Credit: Ed Dunens
Source: National Geographic

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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