New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2022) 46(3): 3482

Restoration of New Zealand subantarctic islands

James C. Russell 1*
Stephen R. Horn 2
Keith G. Broome 3
  1. University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
  2. Department of Conservation, PO Box 743, Invercargill 9840, New Zealand
  3. Department of Conservation, Private Bag 3072, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand
*  Corresponding author

New Zealand manages five island groups in the Southern Ocean New Zealand subantarctic region: The Snares (Tini Heke), Bounty Islands, Antipodes Islands, Auckland Islands (Motu Maha or Maungahuka) and Campbell Island / Motu Ihupuku. Charted by Europeans in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, their preservation commenced in the early 20th century and restoration in the late 20th century. Since 1984, eradications of six introduced mammal species (cattle Bos taurus, sheep Ovis aries, goats Capra hircus, rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus, Norway rats Rattus norvegicus, and mice Mus musculus) across five islands (Campbell, Antipodes, Auckland, Enderby and Rose) have taken place. The only introduced mammal species remaining in the New Zealand subantarctic region are pigs (Sus scrofa), cats (Felis catus) and mice on the main Auckland Island. Building on previous eradication work, from 2018 to 2020 the Department of Conservation undertook research and development to determine the feasibility and cost of a multi-species eradication programme on Auckland Island. The outcomes of the research programme not only inform eradication on Auckland Island, but have wider applicability to other eradication programmes throughout the Southern Ocean.