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Category: Field Mice Control | 12.04.2015
Keith Broome is part of DOC’s Island Eradication Advisory Group (IEAG), which provides expert knowledge to help rid pests on islands both in New Zealand and across the world. Last September, at the request of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), I travelled to Cape Town to join a voyage to Gough Island to help develop the project to eradicate mice from the 6500 ha island. DOC has been long involved in the Gough mouse eradication project, following an offer in 2005 by the then Minister of Conservation to support the project with technical advice. Accompanying me on this voyage was Peter Garden, a very experienced helicopter pilot based in Wanaka, who has flown several aerially applied rodent eradication projects in New Zealand and around the world.

The project has many parallels with our Antipodes mouse eradication project, so the experience was valuable in thinking through the planning issues and eradication design, as well as the logistical issues and options to address them.
The impacts of mice on the Gough ecosystem is substantial, and their impact on the endemic endangered Tristan albatross is catastrophic, with some study sites losing 9 of every 10 nests to mice.
Spending time with Peter was extremely helpful in learning more about how helicopters operate in eradication operations and how pilots view various issues. Seeing the aerial weather station resupply really brought home to me the incredible skill and efficiency with which Kiwi pilots work and how so much of this comes from our unique situation of having a large agricultural aviation industry, which supports the sort of flying skills we need in DOC work.

I made a number of new contacts and grew my knowledge of island management and pest eradication.
Mice are an issue for NZ too like Antipodes, so sharing what we know helps us better understand our own problems and work out solutions together.

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