Moved by his learnings on his recent Our Far South expedition to Antarctica and the subantarctics, Gareth Morgan was motivated to raise $1 million to eradicate mice from New Zealand’s Antipodes Islands.
These ecological treasures lie 800km southeast of Bluff. The project, to be carried out by the Department of Conservation (DOC), will secure the only home of the Antipodes Island snipe and the Antipodes Island parakeet. These islands are also critical breeding habitats for Antipodean albatross, white-capped mollymawk, white-chinned petrel, grey petrel, soft-plumaged petrel, and black-bellied storm petrel. As well there are at least 20 insect species and at least 3 plants that are restricted to these islands.
Mice are the only introduced species on the island. They eat the eggs and chicks of seabirds such as petrels and have been implicated in the deaths of albatross chicks. Mice also eat huge numbers of insects and the seeds of plants that are critical to the health of the islands.
The mouse eradication programme is estimated to cost $1 million and the funds will be raised by a partnership including the Morgan Foundation, Department of Conservation and Heritage Expeditions, on whose ship the group of 50 New Zealanders ventured south.
The Morgan Foundation will match contributions from the public, dollar for dollar, until the $1 million target is reached.