SOS - Save Our Seabirds!
The world faces a petrel crisis! Petrels and other seabirds are under threat around the world from various causes including being caught by fishing vessels and habitat loss. But the biggest threat to them comes from predators introduced to their island breeding sites. Once they would have bred in countless numbers on islands across the Pacific (including mainland New Zealand), but as people spread across the Pacific, they introduced rats and other predators (sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberately) to islands, where they have wiped out petrels, other seabirds, and endemic land birds. Sadly, few unspoilt safe havens remain.
Now you can help fight back!
Henderson Island, situated in the tropical pacific mid-way between New Zealand and Ecuador, is a vitally important seabird island under threat from pacific rats. The UK charity, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) mounted a rat eradication in 2011. Unfortunately, a few rats survived. While reduced rat numbers have allowed the threatened birds have been able to breed successfully for the first time in many years, only a successful rat eradication will ensure the long term future of the island's ecology. Details here and video of the 2011 operation.
The RSPB is committed to continuing the effort to eradicate rats, and in 2015 is sending a team of scientists to conduct research on the dietary preferences and habits of Henderson island's rats to ensure that a future eradication is successful.
In 2010 I helped raise money for the eradication. This year I am once again helping to raise money to help this important project.
An anonymous donor has offered to match any money raised, so your donation will go twice as far!
Why is it so important?
Quite simply, it is a chance to put right an environmental wrong the human race should take responsibility for. Unlike most conservation work, or indeed any charitable cause, which are on-going and never ending (just holding back the tide, winning battles but never the war), this project will provide lasting benefits for thousands, if not millions of years into the future.
Henderson Island can become a haven for breeding seabirds, or, if we fail, it will become an island devoid of all bird life. The breeding population of petrels used to be millions. Now it is just thousands. With your help, it could be millions again. If the eradication does not go ahead there will soon be none (prior to the first eradication attempt, 95% of petrel chicks were eaten by rats within days of hatching). Several other seabird species, and the four endemic land birds will likely go the same way.
Who am I?
My name is Andy Maloney, I am a veterinary surgeon who lives in Wellington, New Zealand, and I am passionate about protecting the wildlife and wild places of our beautiful planet.
What have I done?
I successfully cycled an electric bike from the pest-free 'mainland island' of Zealandia (in the heart of Wellington), to the pest free island reserve of Tiritiri Matangi Island (north of Auckland), between the 9th and 19th of November, in often atrocious weather conditions. It was challenging and fun, and I spoke to many people about the Henderson Island project (and even met two people who had been there!)
To find out more, see my posts about the journey on Facebook.
Please sponsor me! (Its not too late!)
The money donated through this site is channeled via Forest and Bird, who will pass the money on to the RSPB. Please note that money donated can be claimed against your tax, or the tax credit donated to Forest and Bird for their excellent work protecting the nature of New Zealand.
All donations will be matched by an anonymous donor, so its double the bang for your buck!
Photos of Henderson lorikeet and Murphy's petrels: Tara Proud