Peter Harrison with Trevor Glass, Conservation Officer for Tristan da Cunha.
99% of the critically endangered Tristan Albatross breed on Gough Island. © Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Endemic to Gough, there are perhaps only 500 Gough Buntings left in the world. © Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
Seabird Expert Peter Harrison Speaks at the House of Lords
Posted by Carmin Arnot
in Of Interest
Peter Harrison inspires action for Gough Island restoration
Apex co-founder and renowned seabird expert, Peter Harrison, was invited—and deeply honored—to speak at the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. The event, organized by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), brought together a group of colleagues, partners and supporters to reaffirm objectives for the Gough Island Restoration Program, one of the most ambitious island restoration projects ever to be attempted. The objectives are:
- To restore Gough Island to its natural state so the island remains one of the world’s most important seabird nesting sites, worthy of its World Heritage Site status
- To prevent the extinction of the Tristan Albatross and Gough Bunting, currently listed as critically endangered
At the event, Peter spoke of the significance of Gough Island and the severity of the situation at hand. One of his favorite islands on the planet, Peter first visited Gough 37 years ago. A remote and uninhabited island in the South Atlantic’s Tristan da Cunha archipelago, Gough is relied upon as a breeding site by millions of seabirds. Gough is home to the Tristan Albatross and the Gough Bunting, both of which stand to go extinct if we do not intervene. The RSPB and the Tristan da Cunha government are undertaking this challenge with a difficult and logistically complex project to eradicate mice from the island. With the planning stages complete, the project team is set to arrive on the island in May 2020 to begin the rodent baiting operation.
You can help support Gough Island birds
The Gough Island Restoration Program is hoping to see Gough completely mouse-free by 2022. Success will be achieved once this World Heritage Site is secured for future generations, unique species are brought back from the brink of extinction and habitats are allowed to recover naturally with little future intervention required. But there is still a long road ahead and we simply must not fail.
Additional funding is still being sought for this project. For those of you who want to help right away, details on how to support the Gough Island appeal can be found at the RSPB web site: www.rspb.org.uk. I hope that you will join us in pledging your support to this globally important project. The birds of Gough Island need and deserve our support and stewardship to return the island to its former pristine state.
You can read more about the Gough Island Restoration Program on Peter Harrison’s previous blog.