Last year the project to eradicate an estimated 200,000 mice from Antipodes Island, one of the most remote island groups in New Zealand, got underway with the help of donations from the public, Morgan Foundation, WWF, and funds from DoC – amounting to $1 million.
Antipodes Island has an abundance of seabirds and native flora, but mice were causing huge damage to the ecology. They were eating large numbers of seeds, insects, eggs of smaller birds and have been known to prey on seabird chicks like the albatross.
Orillion’s role in the project was the provision of 65,000kg of bait that would not only be palatable to the mice, but also wouldn’t be persistent in the environment after the operation was complete.
The answer was the Pestoff® Rodent Bait 20R cereal bait. These baits contain 0.002% of an anticoagulant brodifacoum, and they have a 100% success rate when used at the right time (breeding seasons and weather) and in the right volume.
The bait was stored in 94 purpose-built containers to transport it from Whanganui to Dunedin to begin its 750km journey across the rough seas to the Antipodes Island.
The bait was aerially spread using two helicopters that would complete two treatments across 2,045 hectares.
For now, the project team is back in New Zealand, but comprehensive monitoring will be carried out in 2018. The project is expected to have enormous benefits for the 21 seabird species that breed on Antipodes, 4 unique ground birds and hundreds of species of insects and plants.