DOC project is tackling sub-Antarctic island's mice population

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A campaign to rid the rugged and remote Antipodes Island of mice has chalked up a major milestone.

It's believed to be the most ambitious pest eradication project ever undertaken by DOC, with the first half of aerial baiting complete.
Source: 1 NEWS

The Million Dollar Mouse campaign has completed the first half of aerial baiting; coping with many sub-antarctic challenges along the way.

After setting off from New Zealand in May, the first big challenge of their mission was assembling helicopters on the deck of the ship they'd been transported in. 

Next, they needed hangars built to protect them from the elements.

Chief pilot Tony Michelle says weather has been the major challenge.

"When we tend to get calm conditions down here, we get a lot of cloud and low fog with it," Mr Michelle says. 

Their key has been making the most of the windows in the weather; But they've been sporadic, and have drawn out the initial baiting phase. 

"We've had a baiting application going on in 12 days , with perfect weather we could have probably done it in two days," project manager Stephen Horn says. 

Yet through it all, the team of thirteen are constantly motivated by the wildlife they're there to protect. 

Mr Horn says it's a really special place.

"Walking to work we head up to the load site in the morning, past endemic parakeets species, a whole lot of seabirds round our tents at night time, so its a unique opportunity." He says. 

The project, which was partially funded by public donations matched by the Morgan Foundation, was set to take anywhere between two to five months. 

It's believed to be the most ambitions pest eradication project ever undertaken by DOC.

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