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  • Latest Darwin award

We are delighted that SGHT has been awarded a grant of £87,000 over two years towards the post-baiting phase of the Habitat Restoration Project by the UK Government’s Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund (also known as Darwin Plus). This is our third award from the Darwin Initiative.



  • New SGHT Chairman 

    SGHT AGM Feb 2016

    At the SGHT AGM in Cambridge on 18th February 2016 we said farewell to Howard Pearce CVO, who has been our chairman for almost a decade. We welcomed Philippa Foster Back CBE as our new chairman.

     

    We are so grateful to Howard for his exceptional commitment to SGHT since taking over as Chairman in September 2006. The Trust was created through the vision of the late Brigadier David Nicholls, and encouraged and supported by Howard as Commissioner for South Georgia. David was an inspiration to us all and his death in 2006 was a great shock. His legacy is the South Georgia Heritage Trust, and he would be proud of the energy and time that Howard has devoted to it over the last ten years. In the early days of the Trust the possibility of clearing the island of rodents seemed like a pipe dream, and would have remained so, had it not been for Howard's vision and leadership.

     Philippa

    We look forward to the coming era under the Chairmanship of Philippa.


  • After three seasons of baiting in 2011, 2013 and 2015 SGHT has treated all of the rodent-infested areas of South Georgia. That means that South Georgia could in theory be entirely rodent-free for the first time in two centuries.

Since 2015 cruise ship passengers and staff have been acting as our eyes and ears on South Georgia, as they visit many of the areas previously inhabited by rats and mice. The fantastic news is that not only has there been no reliable sighting of either, but there have been many sightings of the South Georgia Pipit, which cannot successfully breed in areas with rodents present. Pipit nests have been found in the areas treated in all three field seasons, so signs are as good as they can be that the eradication has been a success. 

Pipit at Elsehul

 

SGHT and FOSGI are now raising funds for a vital survey of the island two years after the last baiting, in the 2017-18 season. We will charter a yacht to sail round the areas treated, deploying detection devices and using sniffer dogs to track down any surviving rodents (although we hope there are none).

 

We can’t wait to meet the dogs who will be involved, so watch this space for news and photos!

 

The combination of dogs and monitoring devices will give us the best chance of success in detecting any remaining rats, but it will cost £450,000. Please help us to fund this vital survey work by donating at www.sght.org/make-donation. Thank you!

 

 

 

  • On 23 March 2015 the final load was dropped in Phase 3 of the Habitat Restoration Project. The entire island of South Georgia, all 100,000 hectares of rodent-infested land, had been treated with the bait which would remove the invasive rats and mice. In a matter of days South Georgia could be rodent-free for the first time in almost two centuries. Its birds would finally be free of the predator that had devastated their nests and chicks, and threatened entire species with extinction.Over time, prions, petrels, pintails and pipits will re-colonise their abandoned nesting sites, increasing the seabird population on the island by an estimated 100 million.  
  • Discovery of pipit chicks announced as final phase of world’s largest rat eradication project gets underway. Click here for PRESS RELEASE (pdf document - January 2015)
  •     The South Georgia Pipit cannot breed when rats are present.
        The discovery of pipit chicks is confirmation that birds are quickly responding to the absence of rats.
         

         South Georgia Pipit

        (Photo of pipit nest courtesy South Georgia Newsletter, January 2015 )

     

  • Habitat Restoration project on BBC News South Georgia rat eradication mission sets sail, also on BBC Newsround (24th Jan December 2014 - we are delighted to announce that SGHT has been awarded a Darwin Plus grant of just under £250,000 for phase 3 of the Habitat Restoration Project)
  • December 2014 - we are delighted to announce that SGHT (together with project partners GSGSSI and the RSPB) has been awarded a £250,000 Darwin Plus grant for phase 3 of the Habitat Restoration Project. 

    

  • The report 'Sustainability in the UK Overseas Territories' has been published as the Environmental Audit Committee’s Tenth Report of Session 2013–14
  • At the 40th Conference of the Association for Industrial Archaeology in Dundee, 10 August 2013, Bjørn L. Basberg was awarded The Peter Neaverson Award for Outstanding Scholarship for his book The Shore Whaling Stations at South Georgia: A Study in Antarctic Industrial Archaeology.
    The award recognizes publications which have made the greatest contribution to the scholarship, knowledge and / or understanding of industrial archaeology. For more details on the award: www.industrial-archaeology.org. To purchase the book visit SGHT's online shop here.

 

    Prof. Basberg receives his award 

    Prof. Basberg received his award on the Frigate Unicorn in Dundee.  

  • Team Rat has completed the second year of Habitat Restoration fieldwork in 2013. This season the international team of eradication experts has tackled all rodent-infested areas to the west of the Greene, Thatcher and Mercer areas cleared in 2011. All indications are that those areas have now been rat-free for two years, and the birds are already benefitting. Pintail ducklings are fledging successfully at Grytviken for the first time in living memory! Over 50,000 hectares of infested land were baited in 2013 despite some of the worst weather in a decade, a tremendous achievement. 
  • On Friday 19 April 2013, the Darwin Initiative awarded SGHT and its project partners GSGSSI and the RSPB £253,000 to eradicate mice from South Georgia as part of the Habitat Restoration Project. The partners would help to monitor the results of the eradication. The aware was made through a new UK Overseas Territories Environment and Climate Fund, known as Darwin Plus. This award will support the removal of mice from the two areas of South Georgia where they are known to exist. The work will be carried out as part of Phase 2 of the Habitat Restoration project in 2013.

     

Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon said:'I’ve been captivated by South Georgia, ever since reading of the plight of Sir Ernest Shackleton as a child.With the centenary of this famous expedition just around the corner, we have a once in a lifetime chance to help return this precious habitat to an eeven better state than that in which Shackleton would have first discovered it. I’m delighted that the UK Government has been able to offer its support to this valuable work and hope that others may be encouraged do the same.’