What’s next?

Auckland Islands. Photo by S.Horn

With mice now successfully eradicated from Antipodes Island it’s time to consider what’s next.

In our final blog, we’ll look at the species monitoring results to share what was happening to the flora and fauna of the island, pre and post operation, as well as what the situation is now.

For now, though, let’s shift focus to a Subantarctic neighbour – Auckland Island.

The Auckland Islands (46,000ha), are the largest of New Zealand’s Subantarctic islands with the richest flora, the largest number of Subantarctic invertebrates and some of the rarest birds on earth.

Auckland Islands teal. Photo by F.Cox

Auckland Islands flora. Photo by F.Cox

White capped mollymawk. Photo by F.Cox

It is also now the last of the New Zealand Subantarctic islands with introduced mammalian predators – cats, pigs and mice.

Pigs were introduced to Auckland Island in 1807, cats arrived by 1840 and mice by 1851.

Pig on Auckland Islands feeding around the seabird nests. Photo by Tui De Roy

These pests are stripping this World Heritage site of its outstanding ecological values.

So, the question is: what should be – and can be – done about it?

The Department of Conservation, with Ngāi Tahu, want to work with partners to solve this issue with an aim to restore the island to be a wildlife utopia once more.

It’s early days yet – the scale of a project like this has never been attempted anywhere else. But with so much to be gained it’s definitely a goal worth pursuing. As discussed in previous blogs, the Subantarctic zone is more than a remote location for sea bird breeding. As an ecosystem it contributes to the health of the biodiversity for the entire world.

Pig damage on Auckland Islands. Photo by S. Horn

 A team from the Department of Conservation are working through the feasibility of such a goal right now, with the aim to have a better idea of what can be achieved by next year.

A predator-free Subantarctic? Watch this space.

Read more.