29 May 2009

Gough Island Project to Investigate Eradicating Mice That Kill Birds

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has advertised online for the hiring of two senior research assistants for a project titled "Control of alien mice and plants at the Gough Island World Heritage Site."

The "mice are literally eating to extinction the populations of albatrosses, petrels and other birds," according to information on the RSPB website, and "achieved worldwide notoriety ... when the plight of Tristan albatrosses and Gough buntings was highlighted by the RSPB, ... albatross chicks were being eaten alive by the mice, stuck in their burrows as the mice launched their nocturnal attacks."

The research assistants "will be responsible for biological research to remove key areas of uncertainty for a proposed future attempt to eradicate house mice from Gough Island, monitoring of albatrosses and petrels, and to lead on the control and eradication of a small invasive plant from cliffs on Gough Island," during a period of 13 months, according to the online job description.

Gough Island, at Tristan da Cunha in the South Atlantic Ocean, is a world heritage site and its 10 million birds make it the most important seabird colony in the world, according to information on the RSPB website.

The United Kingdom government is funding a study of mouse eradication methods, with details for a project indicated in an online report.

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