Eradicating 200,000 mice from remote New Zealand territory

Long Lunch 23/02/2018
Photo: Getty.

Despite their size, mice rein control of some remote Antarctic islands just 760km south-east of New Zealand.

Mice were introduced to the Antipodes Islands in the middle of the 20th century and have been causing havoc ever since.

As the sole mammalian pest species on the New Zealand territories, mice predate birds, invertebrates, and plants. If the island’s endemic species are to survive, mice need to be eradicated.

Enter the Million Dollar Mouse project; an effort fundraised by Opportunities Party founder Gareth Morgan to aid total mice eradication from the islands.

Stephen Horn, project manager for the Department of Conservation, joined Wendyl Nissen on The long Lunch to discuss the million dollar operation.

“[The islands] are real treasure troves to what the New Zealand biodiversity has to offer,” he told RadioLIVE.

The Million Dollar Mouse project took a huge step towards eradication in June 2016 when it dropped 65 tonnes of cereal-based rodent bait over the islands. Thirteen crewmen spent the following 75 days exterminating the island’s 200,000 some mice.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is now en route to the islands to see whether the operation was successful.

Fingers crossed. It’s a really exciting time.

Dogs will search the island and sniff out whether there are any remaining mice, Mr Horn explained. 

Listen to the full interview with Stephen Horn above. 

Afternoon Talk with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.