Resetting THE system
African Birdlife|November/December 2021
The FitzPatrick Institute’s mandate is to conduct cutting-edge research while educating the next generation of ornithological researchers and conservation leaders.
PETER RYAN

Our work is divided into two main themes: understanding and conserving biodiversity. We try to ensure that the lessons learned from our studies reach the relevant management authorities and, wherever possible, work with them to implement conservation solutions. However, much of the time it feels as though we are merely slowing the inevitable – we have our fingers in the dyke, but no one is coming to patch the hole.

Occasionally, though, we are involved in a project that can result in a lasting gain for conservation. The Gough Island Restoration Programme is one such project. The story will be familiar to most readers of African Birdlife. House mice were introduced accidentally to the island by sealers in the 19th century. In addition to having major impacts on the island’s invertebrate fauna, the mice acquired a taste for seabird chicks – a startling finding by researchers sent to the island by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the Fitz in the early 2000s. Since then we have worked closely with the RSPB to assess the feasibility of eradicating mice on Gough.

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