Million Dollar Mouse expedition sets offConservation
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has said bon voyage to the Million Dollar Mouse expedition sailing for Antipodes Island in the Sub-Antarctic on a mission to eradicate mice.
A supply ship leaves Timaru today carrying helicopters and equipment to join a passenger yacht already on its way. A 13-strong team of experts including pilots, engineers and eradication specialists are on board the two vessels.
Funded by DOC with assistance from a fundraising campaign led by the Morgan Foundation, Island Conservation and WWF-New Zealand, the project will cost $3.9 million over three years.
Total eradication of mice will remove the only introduced predator on the World Heritage-listed Antipodes Island, returning its habitat to its natural state.
“Million Dollar Mouse is certainly the most challenging eradication project ever undertaken by DOC,” Ms Barry says.
“The island is more than 760km from Dunedin, surrounded by rough seas and battered by Antarctic weather – truly at the edge of the world – and this expedition has posed extraordinary logistic difficulties which have been overcome.”
“It could not have happened without the generosity of the New Zealand public, philanthropy, NGOs, and a lot of hard work by DOC staff and many others – it is an outstanding example of how working together can lead to phenomenal conservation gains that couldn’t be achieved by any one group alone.”
“Antipodes Island, like the other Sub-Antarctic Islands, is an isolated and remote ecosystem which makes it a special yet vulnerable home for a diverse array of life,” Ms Barry says.
“It is a vital habitat for many seabirds, including albatrosses, as well as other animals found nowhere else on Earth, such as the Antipodes Island and Reischek’s parakeets, pipit and snipe. It is also a breeding ground for seals and many unique plants grow there.”
New Zealanders donated $250,000 towards the eradication through the Million Dollar Mouse fundraising campaign, while WWF-New Zealand and Island Conservation each gave $100,000. All public donations were matched dollar for dollar by Gareth and Jo Morgan, who contributed $350,000.
To find out more about Million Dollar Mouse, visit www.milliondollarmouse.org.nz.