Gough Island, in the middle of the Atlantic, is close to the extinction of its seabirds because of giant mice.
In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is Gough Island, belonging to the United Kingdom. This territory measures only 13 x 7 kilometers, but it suffers from a huge problem: its seabirds are going extinct. And all because of giant mice.
Gough is part of the island of Saint Helena, the remembered final abode of Napoleon Bonaparte. Only twelve scientists make up the population of the place.
In agreement with scientists, these mice are 50% taller than ordinary mice. Their voracity is such that, if they continue to rampage, they will kill seabirds within 36 years.
The main victims of mice are prions, sea birds that belong to the Procellariiformes family.
How to save seabirds from giant mice?
According to the RSPB, a conservation institution, prion chicks have disappeared up to 9% per year due to attacks by mice. His studies date back to 2014.
Of more than 50 nests, only one chick has survived from this year’s group. Even the parents of the chicks leave the nest due to the impossibility of defending themselves from the mice.
With the indiscriminate presence of rodents, there is a 31% chance that seabirds will become extinct in Gough by 2057.
But what is the request of the scientists? Let government agencies go hunting for mice. « If they are eradicated, » says the RSPB, « there is a high probability that the population will stabilize and slowly recover. »
A giant problem for this tiny island, lost in the middle of the Atlantic blue.