New Zealand consultants have been advising the British Government how to rid two small Atlantic islands of giant mice, so big they eat albatross chicks.
The British Overseas Territory Environment Programme (OTEP) fund provided $188,900 this year for feasibility studies for mouse control on Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island, including studies by two New Zealand consultants.
Landcare NZ scientist John Parkes looked at Gough Island and established that the mice could be eradicated but the process would be costly and risky.
He said the British Government was now looking at doing aerial poison drops but as Gough was a volcanic island, many of the mice lived in underground tunnels. The mice, introduced to the islands from 19th-century ships, have evolved to three times their normal size and feed on endangered albatross chicks.
OTEP has since paid for a further $161,626 of work by non-NZ consultants on details to fill in gaps on the original research on Gough.
But Geoff Hilton, senior research biologist at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, said they still relied heavily on "informal" New Zealand expertise and advice, from the Department of Conservation, Landcare and university academics. He said they were " amazed and grateful about how willing the senior people in NZ are to spend such time and energy on supporting our efforts".