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Macquarie Island visit assists in project planning


A recent visit to the Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area 1500 kilometres south-east of Tasmania has given Parks and Wildlife Service staff a first-hand look at the issues involved in eradicating rabbits, rats and mice in the challenging Macquarie Island environment.

Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney said three PWS eradication project staff spent 10 days in late March walking the length and breadth of the island looking at a range of environments and issues associated with the eradication project.

Following the decision by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments last year to jointly fund the $24.6 million project to eradicate rabbits, rats and mice from the island, planning is proceeding in a number of areas.

Mr Mooney said this most recent voyage to the island was particularly significant for two of the team members as it was their first visit to the island and provided a valuable first-hand look at the challenging Macquarie Island environment.

"The project team members examined potential locations for the five additional field huts that will be needed for the project as well as sites for helipads, dog kennels, an operational base for the project team on the island and fuel depots," he said.

"The inspection highlighted there is a wide range of challenging environments to which hunting techniques will need to be adapted. These range from the sheer faces of the southern escarpment to deep sea caves along the western shore.

Mr Mooney said the procurement of trained hunting dogs for the project is nearly complete and it is expected the outcome of the tender process will be announced soon.