BirdLife South Africa Occasional Reports

BirdLife South Africa Occasional Report Series No. 1
Eradication of House Mice Mus musculus from Marion Island

Marion Island is the jewel in South Africa’s island crown – it is huge and beautiful, hosts an astonishing array of endemic species and charismatic marine megafauna, and is pristine. Or nearly pristine…
After cats were eradicated from Marion Island in the early 1990s, mice were left as the only introduced mammal there. At the time, no thought was given to tackling mice, even though their impacts on invertebrates such as the flightless moths and weevils, plant communities, nutrient cycles, etc., were gigantic. Little did we know that mice could become such a significant threat to seabirds. Work done at Gough Island demonstrated that mice can wreak devastation on seabird colonies, and there is now good evidence that mouse impacts on seabirds at Marion Island are increasing.

New Zealand island-eradication expert John Parkes has authored a report titled: ‘Eradication of House Mice Mus musculus from Marion Island: a review of feasibility, constraints and risks’. His assessment concluded that there are no technical obstacles to eradication. We do however need to do some further research, to answer key questions relating to the logistics of the mission. How do we avoid or minimize non-target impacts on some of the birds which will be at risk? How much bait will be needed? When is the best time to start the baiting?

These questions are being developed into a research plan that we hope to put into action in 2017.

To view the report, and read up in more detail, please download the report below

pdf Marion Island Report (714 KB)