First Antipodes Island bait drop completed

  • Maggie Barry
Conservation

The Million Dollar Mouse rodent eradication expedition to Antipodes Island in the sub-Antarctic has completed its first phase today, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says.

Rodent bait has been carefully applied across the 2000-hectare island by two helicopters working in weather windows over the last 12 days.

“Completing the first bait drop just over a month after the expedition arrived at Antipodes is a significant step on the way to ridding the island of mice,” Ms Barry says.

The most challenging pest eradication project ever undertaken by DOC, Million Dollar Mouse is jointly funded by the Department, the Morgan Foundation, Island Conservation, WWF-New Zealand and public donations.

A thirteen-strong DOC and Island Conservation team have been on the island since 27 May and spent the first two weeks offloading helicopters, equipment and supplies from the cargo vessel and setting up facilities for the bait drops. 

“They’ve had to contend with low cloud, fog and some wild weather conditions typical of the sub-Antarctic at this time of year, including wind gusts of more than 160 km per hour,” Ms Barry says.

A second bait application, which needs to be carried out before the end of winter, will complete the ambitious eradication operation.  

“This achievement so far is a testament to comprehensive planning and preparation for the operation, a highly experienced team and DOC’s world renowned leadership and expertise in island pest eradications.”

Total removal won’t be confirmed until intensive monitoring is undertaken in 2018, using rodent detection dogs and monitoring devices to determine no mice have survived.

Mice are the only introduced predator on the remote Antipodes nature reserve and World Heritage Area.

Removing the mice will protect the island’s many unique animal and plant species such as the Antipodes Island and Reischek’s parakeets, albatrosses, pipit and snipe.

To find out more about Million Dollar Mouse, and for blog updates on how the expedition is going, visit http://milliondollarmouse.org.nz/