Monitoring the outer Antipodes islands

Stephen Horn – Project Manager, explains the purpose of monitoring the outer islands

It has been the goal from early in the planning to establish whether mice were present on all of the islands in the Antipodes Group to finalise our treatment area for baiting. This knowledge is important so we maximise the area where non-target species are not exposed to bait as an additional insurance.

In the Antipodes Group there are five offshore islands and one islet.

We are confident that no mice are present on Bollons and Archway.

Leeward Island and Orde Lees Islet were baited as part of the first application because of their close proximity to Antipodes Island. It was not known if mice were present on the Windward Islands but there is a small chance they could have been transported there by sealers.

The original idea was to setup mouse monitoring gear during the planned Navy trip in March but due to that voyage being cancelled this was not carried out. We haven’t had an opportunity to get to these islands prior to application 1 because the good weather has been prioritised for offloading the ship and baiting so we delayed baiting these two sites. Finally we got a chance on the second to last day of application 1. Once all the coastal baiting was done, one helicopter was freed up and Mark and Fin set off to install the devices.

We have just completed our second check of the monitoring gear and after six nights they have been clear, which is great news. We aim to check them one more time in a few days and if still clear the Windward Islands will be left out of our treatment.

It was great to be seeing snipe regularly on these small islands. Snipe are present on Antipodes but it is uncommon to see them.