Albatross island must wait for restoration

Gough Island, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, is home to the critically endangered Tristan albatross whose chicks are being eaten alive by introduced mice. The Tristan government and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds are working in partnership to remove the mice and restore the island. Sadly the Covid-19 pandemic caused the postponement of this vital work, which is now scheduled for 2021.

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Global Conservation Director, wrote in the project’s blog:

“The decision to postpone was not easy but it is the right one. The amazing team behind the work are understandably hugely disappointed after the massive effort and hard work that has got us to this point. However, given the circumstances it has become logistically impossible, and contrary to government guidance, for our specialist team to travel to South Africa and onto Gough during the pandemic.

“We know that after all the years of planning that the project could save two million seabirds each year and prevent the extinction of a number of species. We are committed in our mission to restore Gough to the seabird paradise it once was. “This is a partnership endeavour and it will be through the strength of the partnership that we shall find the collective resolve to see the job through for the precious wildlife of Gough Island”.

More information is available at:  Photograph of Tristan albatross courtship dance on Gough Island courtesy of Andy Schofield.