09/05/2021
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First confirmed case of adult Tristan Albatross being predated by mice

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A 35-year-old Tristan Albatross has been killed by non-native mice on Gough Island, in the South Atlantic Ocean, the RSPB has revealed.

This is the first confirmed case of an adult bird succumbing to predation by mice, although such behaviour has previously been well documented in chicks.

Unfledged youngsters, unlike their parents, cannot fly away when House Mice start eating them alive, with this ability to fly long assume to be the reason that adults are largely left alone by the mice.

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The RSPB will attempt to eradicate mice from Gough Island this year, but is fundraising to make this costly project happen – you can donate to the project here (R Daling / RSPB).

However, the harrowing new evidence shows that even healthy adult albatrosses of this declining species are not exempt from predation, and underlines the urgency for a planned eradication programme to take place.

In 2021 the RSPB and its partners will attempt to eradicate House Mice from Gough Island in order to make it safe for breeding seabirds once more. The project was originally scheduled to go ahead in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic meant that the RSPB and the Tristan da Cunha government had to abandon these plans and airlift the team home.

With the delays the project now has a significant funding deficit. If you would like to help close this funding gap, you can donate directly to the restoration project at www.rspb.org.uk/join-and-donate/donate/appeals/gough-island.