This year, FOTBOT is proud to be supporting the Gough Island Restoration, a partnership programme by the RSPB and the Tristan da Cunha Government, to save the loss of over two million seabird chicks and eggs each year on the island, as well as a growing threat to the adult seabird population.
Gough Island is one of the world's most important seabird breeding sites, and is noted of a World Heritage Site, close to Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic Ocean. Caused by the introduction of mice in the 17th century - which have now evolved to be 50% larger than normal house mice, with such massive losses each year there is a very real and imminent liklihood of extinction for the Gough Bunting and Tristan Albatross - both of which are Critically Endangered and are set to be extinct within the next 20-50 years. A number of other Endangered and Vulnerable species are facing dramatic declines and also the danger of extinction. The ocean dwelling birds that breed here come from far and wide - from Antarctica to the Gulf of Mexico.
The partnership led by the RSPB and Tristan da Cunha, working with the South African government, will see an active programme of island restoration in order to restore the balance on the Island by removing the mice from the island through a baiting programme. The Island is mainly an untouched paradise for seabirds, with no human habitation on the island.
We are delighted to have selected this work for our fundraising campaign for 2019/20. It is a huge scheme requiring specialist expertise developed in New Zealand, as well as massive logistical coordination. Air and sea transport is needed, with the chartering of highly specialist helicopters and a large vessel which can be the operational base for the work, as Gough Island has no infrastructure and sees exceptionally strong winds due to its highly exposed location.