This Just In: New Zealand Has Just Killed Off 200,000 Mice From A Single Island

Photo: CreativeNature_n (Getty Images)

If you’re tired of seeing a mouse or ten while waiting on the subway platform for your urine-infested test to come through, perhaps this story here might spark an idea in you. Let’s just say that leaders of New Zealand, who has made it a goal of theirs to get rid of all rats, possums and stoats by 2050, made a step towards that goal by killing off a ton of mice off one island. How many mice? Try 200,000.

According to Earther, the Antipodes Island was recently taken over by one predator: mice. The mice were destroying everything from invertebrate species to plant material, to even eating bird chicks and eggs. So man did what it does best: kill them all. Here’s what New Zealand Department of Conservation project manager Stephen Horn had to say: “Mice had never been eradicated on this scale before, so the international community was watching the process very closely.”

So how did they kill off this batch of mice? They dropped poison on the island via helicopters.

“Any other method risked leaving mice behind and with eradication, rather than control, the overall goal, we needed to be sure we could get every last individual,” Horn said.

More strange islands: The 10 Weirdest Islands In The World


Horn said that New Zealand is home to more species of seabird than any other country in the word, and that the Antipodes alone provide important breeding grounds for more than twenty-one species of seabirds that feed in the Southern Ocean encircling Antarctica. According to New Zealand Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage, the success of the five-year project will help more than 150 species of insects, 21 uncommon plant species, and four endemic land birds to thrive, along with the 21 seabirds.

Photo: Antipodes Island Parakeet on tree branch ( rfranca/Getty Images)

According to Dr. James Russell, a conservation biologist at the University of Auckland, “off-the-shelf rat poison” was used.

 “This is achieved through precision GPS delivery from helicopters, which minimizes any toxin entering the marine environment, and has very few side effects on other animals because the poison is most strongly acting on land mammals, which aren’t normally found on islands,” Russell said.

Minimizes? So yeah, that means there’s a chance this little mice-killing charade may kill off other animals. But hey, some remote island in New Zealand is now mice-poop free for now. And that in it self is a win.