Australia: subantarctic Macquarie island birds threatened by rabbits


Wandering albatross and pomarine skua

From WWF:

Sydney, Australia – Cruise passengers heading south this season will be in for a shock when they see what rabbits, rats and mice have done to one of Australia’s World Heritage islands in the Southern Ocean.

Invasive animals have caused extensive damage to sub-Antarctic islands, such as Tasmania’s Macquarie Island, with entire hill slopes denuded by rabbits, leaving seabirds without nesting grasses or shelter from predators.

Macquarie Island, 1500km south-east of Tasmania in the Southern Ocean, is a breeding ground for about four million seabirds, and provides critical habitat for two threatened albatross species: the wandering and grey-headed albatross.

But since the 1980s, rabbit numbers on the World Heritage-listed island have jumped from about 10,000 to more than 100,000 today, which has decimated the island’s distinctive tussock grasses and coastal slopes that provide shelter and materials for nesting seabirds. …

Macquarie Island, along with Heard and Macdonald Islands, were nominated by the Australian government for World Heritage listing in 1996 in recognition of its ecological significance, and were listed as a World Heritage Area in 1997.

In addition to its four million seabirds, Macquarie Island is a breeding ground for about 850,000 pairs of royal penguins and 100,000 seals, making it a popular stop for Antarctic cruise operators.

See also here.

And here.

And here.

And here.

Penguin killing business on Macquarie island in the late 19th century: here.

Emperor penguins diving: here.

Australia: Goolengook forest film.

Pomarine skua off the West Coast of Ireland? Here.

Research on the remote Scottish islands of St Kilda has revealed that tiny storm-petrels are being preyed upon at night by Great Skuas. This behaviour is unusual and may well be unique to the islands: here.

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One thought on “Australia: subantarctic Macquarie island birds threatened by rabbits

  1. Pingback: Macquarie Island’s sub-Antarctic wildlife | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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