Friends of the British Overseas Territories' main 2019/2020 fundraising campaign

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FOTBOT raises money for Gough Island Restoration

Report from FOTBOT

Edited by Laura Beasley from the RSPB

Friends of the British Overseas Territories

In 2019, FOTBOT is proud to be supporting the Gough Island Restoration, a partnership programme by the RSPB and the Tristan da Cunha Government, to save the loss of over two million seabird chicks and eggs each year on the island, as well as a growing threat to the adult seabird population.

Gough Island is one of the world's most important seabird breeding sites, and is noted as a World Heritage Site (paired with Inaccessible Island), 220 miles SSE of Tristan da Cunha in the Atlantic Ocean. After the introduction of invasive non-native mice in the 19th century, unique species have suffered massive losses each year and species like the Gough Bunting and Tristan Albatross - both of which are Critically Endangered - are now at very high risk of extinction as mice predate on their eggs and chicks. A number of other Endangered and Vulnerable species are facing dramatic declines and also the danger of extinction. The ocean dwelling birds that breed here come from far and wide - from Antarctica to the Gulf of Mexico.

The partnership led by the RSPB and Tristan da Cunha, working with the South African Government, BirdLife South Africa, Birdlife International, Island Conservation, The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and supported by the UK Government, will see an active programme of island restoration in order to restore the balance on the island by removing the mice through a baiting programme. Other than the threat of invasive non-native mice, Gough Island is largely considered to be mainly an untouched paradise for seabirds, with no permanant human habitation on the island.

We are delighted to have selected this work for our fundraising campaign for 2019/20. It is a huge scheme requiring specialist expertise developed in New Zealand, as well as massive logistical coordination. Air and sea transport is needed, with the chartering of highly specialist helicopters and a large vessels as well as temporary infrastructure to support the operational team on Gough Island during the operation.

See also their website pages for more information:

Chris Jones' photo shows Gough Island from the SA Agulhas II helicopter in September 2019