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Million Dollar Mouse: What’s Next for the Islands of the Subantarctic?

After the successful removal of invasive mice from Antipodes Island, what is next for the islands of the Subantarctic?

With mice now successfully eradicated from Antipodes Island, it’s time to consider what’s next.

In our final blog, we’ll look at the species monitoring results to share what was happening to the flora and fauna of the island, pre and post operation, as well as what the situation is now.

For now, though, let’s shift focus to a Subantarctic neighbor – Auckland Island.

island-conservation-invasive-species-preventing-extinctions-auckland-island

Auckland Islands. Credit: S. Horn

The Auckland Islands (46,000ha), are the largest of New Zealand’s Subantarctic islands with the richest flora, the largest number of Subantarctic invertebrates and some of the rarest birds on earth.

It is also now the last of the New Zealand Subantarctic islands with introduced mammalian predators – cats, pigs and mice.

Pigs were introduced to Auckland Island in 1807, cats arrived by 1840 and mice by 1851.

These pests are stripping this World Heritage site of its outstanding ecological values.

So, the question is: what should be – and can be – done about it?

The Department of Conservation, with Ngāi Tahu, want to work with partners to solve this issue with an aim to restore the island to be a wildlife utopia once more.

It’s early days yet – the scale of a project like this has never been attempted anywhere else. But with so much to be gained, it’s definitely a goal worth pursuing. As discussed in previous blogs, the Subantarctic zone is more than a remote location for seabird breeding. As an ecosystem, it contributes to the health of the biodiversity for the entire world.

A team from the Department of Conservation are working through the feasibility of such a goal right now, with the aim to have a better idea of what can be achieved by next year.

A predator-free Subantarctic?

Featured Photo: Shag rookery, Enderby Island, Auckland Islands. Credit: Jo Hiscock/New Zealand Department of Conservation
Originally published by Million Dollar Mouse

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 60 islands worldwide, benefiting 1090 populations of 399 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.

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