Populations of seabirds on a remote UK overseas territory are threatened by predatory mice, and conservationists want the UK government to do more to help.
Tristan Albatross is Critically Endangered with only about 2,000 breeding pairs in the world. Photo: Michael Clarke (Wikimedia commons)
Gough Island, in the South Atlantic, holds one of the world’s most important seabird breeding colonies with more than a million albatross, shearwater and petrels. Their existence is threatened by supersized mice, descendants of the British House Mouse, which are eating chicks alive.
The mice attack at night, singly or in groups, gnawing into the chicks’ bodies when they sit on the nest, and eventually kill them through blood loss or destruction of vital organs.
It is thought it might eventually drive some of the 22 species of birds that breed on Gough to extinction. The number of Tristan Albatross chicks making it through to fledging has decreased rapidly and it is now five times lower than it should be. The mice are also affecting the Gough Bunting, one of the worldâ€™s largest finches and another species that is endemic to Gough island.
There are fears that the UK Government is not placing enough of its financial resources into its Overseas Territory to save and enhance wildlife for which we have a clear responsibility. The petition below draws attention to a British problem that can and should be solved by the British Government, and in particular the threat
* Please help to motivate the Government to take notice of this problem by signing this petition: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Territories/
Above article courtesy of Birdwatch Website.