The New Zealand government has deployed a troop on a special mission to hunt for a mouse species — million-dollar mouse — at the inhospitable Antipodes Islands in the sub-Antarctic.
The rhodent, an invasive species, thought to have introduced by sealers or a shipwreck more than a century ago severely damaged the ecosystem of the pristine island forcing the government to undertake an extermination programme.
The country raised NZ$1m (£526,000) two years ago for a massive programme, under which 65 tonnes of cereal-based rodent bait was dropped across the islands. A 13-strong crew on the ground spent 75 days killing an estimated 200,000 mice.
The country has now sent a team to verify the effectiveness of the extermination drive.
“As with any island eradication, success is never guaranteed. The Antipodes operation was delivered to international best practice – however, the sheer challenge of eradicating 200,000 mice from such a remote and wild part of New Zealand should never be underestimated,” New Zealand conservation minister Eugenie Sage told The Guardian.