Long-awaited project to eliminate seabird-eating invasive mice ready to go.

RSPB announce programme to go ahead in 2021

RSPB Council gives the go ahead for 2021 Gough Restoration Project operation

Announcement from RSPB's Laura Beasley

Following the postponement of the Gough Island Restoration operation this year due to Covid-19, RSPB council trustees met on Tuesday 24th November, and after careful consideration, have given the go-ahead for the mouse eradication operation to take place in the Southern winter of 2021.

Chris Jones' photo shows the yacht Evohe approaching Gough Island
to begin the 2019 Gough Restoration project on 28th February 2020.
Unfortunately the 2019 project had to be abandoned due to Covid-19 precautions.

Over the last 9 months, our team has continued to work at pace, planning to ensure we are in the best position possible, ready for this decision. Almost the entire team of experts we had in place for 2020 (more than 60 people from four different continents) have made themselves available next year, and we have helicopters, ships and other contractors lined up ready to deploy.

We are acutely aware that the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced greater challenges to an already difficult operation. While we cannot predict what the world will look like next year, we have factored as much mitigation as possible into our planning and we believe we can mobilise the teams safely to and through South Africa to ensure they can arrive on Gough to carry out the operational phase.

Our trustees, board members and programme team all agree that waiting until 2022 will not bring any better chances of success, that the restoration of Gough needs to happen as soon as possible and that we are in a position where we are confident we can see this through next year.

We're sure you will agree that this is great news and shows our ultimate commitment to restoring Gough Island to its former pristine condition. We have been humbled and touched by all the donations, pledges and words of encouragement we've received since the postponement, and the programme would not have got this far without all the support we've had over the past few years. There's still a long way to go, so we hope our friends and partners will continue to be by our side in whatever way they can. We look forward to keeping you informed about the progress of this vitally important restoration programme and welcome any questions you may have.

RSPB, November 2020

Ben Dilley's photo shows mice attacking a Tristan albatross chick.
Up to nine mice at a time have been observed predating on one chick.
It is hoped that, after the 2021 project, seabirds like the Tristan Albatross
can breed and thrive without predation from mice.

See also the RSPB's official announcement: www:rspbgrp