The Australian and Tasmanian Governments have today reached an agreement to jointly fund the eradication of rodent pests on Macquarie Island, Australia to protect its World Heritage values.
The seabird populations and vegetation of the Island are under serious threat from plagues of rabbits, rats and mice.
Following discussions, the Governments have agreed to provide funding of AUS$24.6 million (AUS$12.3 million each) to implement the Plan for the Eradication of Rabbits and Rodents on Subantarctic Macquarie Island.
As Macquarie Island is part of Tasmania, the plan will be implemented by the Tasmanian Government, which will also meet any costs in excess of AUS$24.6 million agreed funding.
The eradication will be managed by a joint Government steering committee supported by a scientific advisory committee.
As it takes two years for the specialised training of dogs to hunt rabbits without impacting on the wildlife, the two Governments have agreed that Tasmania will let contracts for this training begin and commence all other long-lead work immediately.
Macquarie Island was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997 on the basis of its outstanding natural universal values:
- as an outstanding example representing major stages of the earth's evolutionary history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features; and
- containing superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance.
Macquarie Island is situated about 1500 km south-south-east of Tasmania, about half way between Tasmania and Antarctica at around 55 degrees south. The main island is approximately 34 km long and 5.5 km wide at its broadest point.