A month ago, Icy News from Macca described the extent of vegetation recovery here since the completion in 2014 of the remarkably successful Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Program, which eradicated introduced pest rabbits and rodents from the island. Expeditioners continue to be delighted and amazed by the extent of the vegetation recovery, so here are a few more before and after photos taken around the island to demonstrate how the natural environment has bounced back!
The before photos were taken in 2010, immediately before the majority of the rabbits were eradicated using rabbit calicivirus (rabbit haemorrhagic disease) as a biocontrol agent. The use of calicivirus in 2010 was followed by aerial baiting of the island from helicopters, and then three years of deployment of specially trained dogs, handlers and rabbit hunters to ensure every last rabbit was indeed gone.
The after photos were taken in the last month, January 2020. The photos show regrowth of tussock grass (Poa foliosa), Macquarie Island cabbage (Stilbocarpa polaris), and Macquarie Island daisy (Pleurophyllum hookeri).
- Ivor Harris, Station Leader