Animals & Wildlife Magazine

Messing With Mother Nature: The Macquarie Island Ecosystem

By Gerard @presurfer
Messing With Mother Nature: The Macquarie Island Ecosystemimage credit
Macquarie Island lies in the southwest corner of the Pacific Ocean, about half-way between New Zealand and Antarctica. The island was exploited mercilessly, but various plans to repair the damage had their own unintended consequences. Introducing a non-native species to control another invasive species can backfire and escalate the situation to ridiculous and tragic levels.
The ecology of the island was affected soon after the beginning of European visits to the island in 1810. The island's fur seals, elephant seals and penguins were killed for fur and blubber. Rats and mice that were inadvertently introduced from the ships prospered due to lack of predators. Cats were subsequently introduced deliberately to keep the rodents from eating human food stores. In about 1870, rabbits were left on the island by sealers to breed for food. By the 1970s, the then 130,000 rabbits were causing tremendous damage to vegetation.The Presurfer

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