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World’s biggest mouse hunt underway on remote Antipodes Islands to test $4 million pest control operation

The world's biggest mouse hunt is underway to see if rodents have been eradicated form the remote Antipodes Island group.

A troop of 10 rangers, three sniffer dogs and the crew of HMNZS Wellington made the trip south for the operation 'Endurance' this week. Source: 1 NEWS

A massive troupe of 10 rangers, three sniffer dogs and the crew of HMNZS Wellington made the trip south for operation endurance this week.

It was an 800 km journey and for the next three weeks, the dogs and a team from the Department of Conservation will scour the island's 2000 hectares for mice.

"When they do find something their whole character changes and that is a good indication that they are onto something," dog handler Brian Shields says.

But they actually don't want to find any mice, because they would mean a huge $4 million pest control operation has failed.

Particularly nervous is Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage.

"Slightly anxious that we not find any mice because of the huge effort that was put in in 2016: three helicopters a big crew of about 13 people plus the helicopter pilots, the engineers," Ms Sage says.

A public fund raised $1 million for the eradication, moved by the plight of Antipodes seabirds that were suffering as the mouse population got out of control.