Keith Broome – Island eradication advisor

Keith Broome

Keith Broome

Keith Broome, Chairperson for the Island Eradication Advisory Group (IEAG), talks about their role in Antipodes Island Mouse Eradication.

“The Island Eradication Advisory Group (IEAG) is working closely with the project team to plan the eradication project to the highest standards and give it the very best chance of success.

The IEAG is a small group of New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC) staff who represent the best island eradication experience available within DOC. If the collective experience in this field were totalled up for the six members it easily surpasses 120 years. Set up in 1997 to capture existing knowledge and expertise and provide technical advice to up and coming DOC projects, the role has diversified into six key areas:

  • technical support for eradication projects and island biosecurity;
  • evaluation of best practice for pest eradication;
  • building capability within DOC for pest eradication work;
  • advice on national priorities for island eradication projects; and
  • international networking to maintain DOC’s knowledge base by participating in the exploration and resolution of island eradication issues worldwide.

The Antipodes project has plenty of challenges, but we can work through each of them with the project team and bring what we have learned from other projects both here and around the world. Key elements in the success of IEAG advice are: robust debate and review; making the most of collective knowledge; challenging assumptions and growing project managers’ experience.

The goal of a mammalian pest free island is certainly worthy of our best efforts.

Erect Crested Penguin colony. Photo by Tui De Roy

Erect Crested Penguin colony Antipodes Islands. Photo by Tui De Roy

Male Antipodean albatross on nest with young chick. Photo M. Fraser. NZ Birds Online

Antipodean albatross on nest. Photo by M. Fraser. NZ Birds Online

Grey petrel Antipodes Island. Photo by D. Boyle. NZ Birds Online

Grey petrel Antipodes Island. Photo by D. Boyle. NZ Birds Online

Many people don’t realise that New Zealand is the seabird capital of the world with more species of seabird than any other by a country mile. While seabirds in the Sub-Antarctic have the riches of the Southern Ocean to feed on, they all need land to breed and land is in very short supply- just grab a globe someday and turn it upside down. Yes the big frozen bit of Antarctica is obvious but only available to a handful of specialist species adapted to the intense cold. Other species must rely on the few islands dotted around the Southern Ocean for breeding habitat and many of these have pest mammals on them ready to attack their nests.  Antipodes mouse eradication is our chance to make a big difference to conservation in the Southern Ocean for seabirds and all the unique terrestrial native species that live there.”