Million Dollar Mouse monitoring phase begins

The result of one of the most complex island mouse eradication projects ever undertaken will be known in a few short weeks.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is accompanying a Department of Conservation-led Million Dollar Mouse monitoring team heading to Antipodes Island group in the New Zealand subantarctic. The monitoring team will begin the month-long assessment to determine whether the project was a success.

Ms Sage said it was an exciting, albeit nerve-wrecking time, for everyone involved.

“The Million Dollar Mouse eradication programme was delivered in winter 2016. Now, 18 months and almost two mice breeding seasons later, DOC will be able to determine if it was a success.

“As with any island eradication, success is never guaranteed. The Antipodes operation was delivered to international best practice, however, the sheer challenge of eradicating 200,000 mice from such a remote and wild part of New Zealand should never be underestimated.”

The Antipodes Island group is located about 760 km south east of New Zealand. The 2,100 hectare islands are protected as a Nature Reserve and are recognised internationally as a World Heritage site for their outstanding natural values.

“These islands have incredible bird and plant life – they’re home to 21 species of breeding seabirds and four unique ground bird species, as well as many native and endemic species of insects and plants. Mice can be voracious predators, so they needed to go in order to preserve the islands as a key site for biodiversity.”

Mice were first reported on Antipodes Island in 1907, either arriving by shipwreck or with early sealers. Since then, they have had major impacts on a once pristine ecosystem that had not evolved to cope with mammalian predators.

DOC, in partnership with the Morgan Foundation, WWF-New Zealand, Island Conservation and with support from donors to the ‘Million Dollar Mouse’ campaign, set out to remove the invasive predators.

Now, it is time to review the results.

“If any mice had survived the operation, the population would have rebounded by now to a level where they should be detectable,” Ms Sage said.

Even so, the 10-person team will take a full three weeks to search the island before the final results will be known. Two rodent-detection dogs from the Kiwibank Conservation Dogs’ Programme will help with the task.

If successful, this will be the largest eradication where mice are the sole mammalian pest species. This would leave Auckland Island as the only place, out of New Zealand’s five subantarctic island groups, with a population of introduced mammalian predators – mice, cats and pigs.

“It’s an exciting time for island conservation and pest eradication. The international community will be watching closely.”

The Million Dollar Mouse monitoring team left yesterday evening aboard the HMNZS Wellington, courtesy of the New Zealand Defence Force.

Action

Join our call to stop funding fossil fuels!

Take Action

Action

Virtual Events

We have activists across Aotearoa / New Zealand who are working hard to build a brighter future for our kids and grandkids. This page lists upcomin...
Take Action

Action

Support our Climate Action Plan for bigger bolder climate action

We agree with all five of the School Strike for Climate's demands. Read more and sign the petition.
Take Action

Action

Show your support to end housing inequality

New Zealand’s housing market is becoming increasingly divided between people who own their own homes and those forced to rent for life...
Take Action

Latest Environment Announcements

Story

Minister welcomes report of nation’s household plastic rubbish, recycling practices

A new report on New Zealand’s plastic rubbish and recycling practices is being welcomed by the Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage.
Read More

Story

Flood of support for Top of the South catchment

Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Governm...
Read More

Policy

Healthy nature

Nature sustains us and is the basis of all life.  In Government the Greens have led the way in making sure our precious plants and animals are pr...
See More

Story

OIA reforms mean more attention to nature and cultural values

The Green Party welcome proposed changes to the Overseas Investment Act (OIA) that will see stronger controls on applications by overseas interests...
Read More

Story

California is burning, the US must not walk away from the Paris Agreement

Green Party Co-leader James Shaw has expressed his exasperation at the decision by the United States to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreemen...
Read More

Story

Minister announces fresh funding for community-led Hokianga environment project

A unique project enhancing the mana and wellbeing of the environment and the people of the Hokianga is to receive $300000 over three years from the...
Read More

Latest Conservation Announcements

Story

Big boost for community conservation in Northland

Nature in Te Tai Tokerau/Northland is getting a much needed boost thanks to additional funding for community conservation efforts announced the Min...
Read More

Story

Boost for Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Community Conservation

Community conservation in Rēkohu/Wharekauri/the Chatham Islands is receiving a boost, with grants to support local projects announced today by Mini...
Read More

Story

Minister opens new ecosanctuary at Cape Farewell

A new ecosanctuary with a predator proof fence on Golden Bay’s Cape Farewell, which will restore a safe home for sea birds, rare native plants, gia...
Read More

Story

Plans to protect the future of whitebaiting announced

With several native whitebait species in decline the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage has today released proposals to standardise and improve ...
Read More

Story

Southland’s Waituna Lagoon vulnerable to changing climate

The vulnerability of New Zealand’s aquatic environments to climate change is highlighted in a new report on Waituna Lagoon in Southland’s internati...
Read More

Story

Flood of support for Top of the South catchment

Work to look after nature and restore freshwater quality in Te Hoiere/Pelorus River catchment is getting a significant boost, thanks to new Governm...
Read More