If you’ve read my posts before you’d know I’ve written at length about the devastating effects of introduced mammals in New Zealand, and also of the ways that New Zealanders have been working to save their species from those same mammals. Now everyone has a chance to help the Kiwis save their birds as a Wellington philanthropist, Gareth Morgan, is trying to raise NZ$ 1 million to clear the Antipodes Islands of mice. If the money is raised he will match it to get the work underway. The Antipodes, one of New Zealand’s subantarctic island possessions, are home to two endemic parrots, a subspecies of the Subantarctic Snipe, and a whole range of breeding seabirds, including albatrosses and penguins. Spread the word and support the project if you can at Million Dollar Mouse!
I support this wholeheartedly. The benefits are clear and certain; once the mice have been removed they’re gone for good (barring an illegal — and highly unlikely — landing by a vessel carrying rodents). This is an opportunity to protect one of the world’s truly wild places, a haven for wildlife and one of just two places in the world where erect-crested penguins breed.
My understanding is that public donations only have to amount to about 350K NZD (currently about 285 USD) because the Morgans will match that and the Department of Conservation will fund the remainder.
However, I do resent having to support this sort of operation — if the budget for New Zealand’s Department of Conservation was adequate, fund-raising campaigns like this wouldn’t be necessary.