Conservation Minister and scientists off to check out mouse hunt in the Antiopdes

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is with scientists on their way to the Antipodes Islands to see if the world's largest mouse hunt has been a success. 

Eugenie Sage is with scientists on their way to the islands to see if a mouse eradication effort has been a success. Source: 1 NEWS

Sixty-five tonnes of bait was dropped on the islands 18 months ago to kill the pests as part of the so-called 'Million Dollar Mouse' project.

A ship left Dunedin this evening for its week-long voyage to the Subantarctic island group, which is a world heritage site and a major nature reserve.

1 NEWS political reporter Andrea Vance reported from on board the vessel that Kiwis a few years ago crowd sourced and raised $1 million to eradicate mice from the Antiopdes Islands, where mice are a huge pest.

A group of scientists and three mousing dogs are travelling back to see whether the 200,000 mice that were on the island survived that massive bait bomb, Vance explained.

Project manager Stephen Horne said the island is a really special place in terms of biodiversity.

"These are world heritage sights, they're really unique. Mice are extremely damaging to the eco system down there. They consume a lot of food, they disturb the sea birds, they eat all the insects," he said.

"And we need to get rid of them to allow those species to recover and help the island return to its natural state."

Vance reported the mouse hunt is really crucial for the Department of Conservation because it has a goal of getting all of New Zealand's outlying islands predator free by 2025.

The next stage of this mission would be to move to the other Subantarctic islands, the Auckland Islands, to get rid of pigs and cats, she said.

So, Vance said, there are a lot of hopes resting on this mouse mission being a success.