Macquarie Island pest eradication

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Macquarie Island pest eradication
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Tue, 18 Oct 2011 20:55:32 +1100
Hi all,

Further to my earlier email have a look at this website from Macquarie

Mention is made on the site of the King Penguins at Lusitania Bay. Up until
about 1919 the birds were predated by men and fed into boilers (technically
known as "digesters") to be rendered into oil. This was done because the
majority of seals on the island had been killed and fat-bearing animals were
needed to feed the rendering pots. If you go to the 19th of August weekly
newsletter at this site there is a picture of a digester. The fat, 80cm tall
penguin chicks were hearded up ramps to the top of the digester and then
clubbed and pushed into boiling water. Lovely stuff. When Sir Douglas Mawson
visited the island in 1931 he estimated there were only 4,000 King Penguins
left at Lusitania Bay. Numbers of seals and penguins have re-built once the
predator was removed from the island. I expect that the same will be true
now that the rats, mice and cats have been removed.

Yes, the deaths of 2000 birds by poison bait is not pleasant to think about,
but look at the alternative - the deaths of many thousands of birds by cat,
rat and mouse predation.  I also think that the rare and endangered mega
herbs being eaten by rabbits and the landslides caused by the denudation of
the cliffs is just as big a problem and well worth stopping. My thanks go to
all those who have persevered with the pest eradication and made this big
step toward restoring Macquarie Island.



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