Bollons Island – MOUSE FREE

Written  by Chrissy Wickes

The eradication team is now confident that Bollons Island is mouse free and can plan accordingly.

“The lack of evidence of mice on Bollons Island is a great help to the eradication programme. Bollons Island provides a sanctuary for species that are currently struggling because of mice on the main Antipodes Island.” said Stephen Horn, Project Manager for the Antipodes Mice Eradication.

 

View of Bollons Island by A.Ballance

View of Bollons Island. Photo by A.Ballance

“Some of the invertebrate species on Bollons have been wiped out on the main island by mice. Having the second largest island of the Antipodes group mouse free means a significant reservoir of native birds, invertebrates and plants on this island are secured from the impacts of mice.”

Mitch Bartlett searching for mice sign on Bollons Island. Photo by Hannah Edmonds

Mitch Bartlett searching for mice sign on Bollons Island. Photo by Hannah Edmonds

This reservoir will provide backup populations of invertebrates and birds that will help the recovery of populations on the main Antipodes Island once it has been cleared of mice.

Bollons Island is the second largest island of the Antipodes group (52ha) and lies 1500m north of the main Antipodes Island. Very few research teams have visited Bollons Island. Data from visits in 1995 and 2011 have shown greater numbers and diversity of invertebrates on Bollons compared to the main island. Mice or sign of mice have never been observed during visits to the island however the eradication team needed to improve their confidence in this belief before excluding Bollons Island from the treatment area.

Photo 3 Kath Walker

Antipodes Snipe. Photo by James Russell

During this trip tracking tunnels were set up to check for mouse presence as well as ground searching for mouse sign. No evidence of mice was found and the greater number of invertebrates, and snipe relative to the main island was encouraging.

A second visit to Bollons Island was completed in October 2014. The tracking tunnels were checked and a general ground search was completed for the second time. No mouse sign was found.

 

Photo 2 Bollons Island looking sth towards Antipodes and Windward Islands to the west. H. Edmonds

Bollons Island. Photo by Hannah Edmonds