South Georgia Heritage Trust

The South Georgia Heritage Trust (http://www.sght.org/) exists to raise funds to conserve and protect the wildlife and flora of South Georgia and to preserve the historical heritage of South Georgia. They are currently raising funds to carry out Phase 2 of the eradication of rodents from South Georgia. The rats were introduced to the island in the whalers’ ships in the 19th and 20th centuries. They eat the eggs and chicks of the smaller ground nesting birds on the island such as pipits, prions, diving petrels and blue petrels. Phase 1 of the project in March 2011 used two helicopters to treat three areas of South Georgia around Grytviken. Initial results look like the treatment was successful with no rats seen and the return of pin tail ducks to the treated area. The area treated in Phase 1 was the largest area in the world that rat clearance has been attempted over.

The South Georgia Heritage Trust currently have an appeal to raise £5.5 million to treat the remainder of the rat infested areas in March 2013. I would recommend a look at their website (it’s worth waiting for a few minutes to allow their video to load). I’m looking forward to seeing how the rat eradication has worked when we visit South Georgia in February 2014 and seeing the pipits and pin tail ducks. As part of the planning for the trip we have to prove to the South Georgia Government that we have suitable bio-security procedures in place so that won’t cause any harm to the native wildlife or flora by allowing in non-native species. We’re completing the paper work at the moment and will submit it next year.

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