- Photos of our specially trained rodent detection dogs at work
- Museum News for December welcomes the Tracker dogs to South Georgia
- BBC Breakfast features the South Georgia Habitat Restoration project
- Survey Tracker dogs Will & Wai on their way to South Georgia – Photos in Stanley
- Press Release: Moment of truth for world’s largest island eradication project
- ‘Rodent eradication scaled up: clearing rats and mice from South Georgia’ published
- SGA Event: New and future science from South Georgia and the surrounding seas Nov 10
- Island Invasives Conference 2017 10th-14th July
- Reclaiming South Georgia named in Top 10 bird books of 2016 (Jan 2017)
- Reclaiming South Georgia – Review in British Birds Magazine (Sept 2016)
- Prof Tony Martin named Conservationist of the Year (May 2016)
- Shackleton Centenary Online Art Auction (May 2016)
- Latest Darwin award (April 2016)
- New SGHT Chairman (February 2016)
- All of the rodent-infested areas of South Georgia treated (March 2015)
- Final load was dropped in Phase 3 of the Habitat Restoration Project (March 23 2015)
- Discovery of pipit chicks announced (January 2015)
- 2014 News Highlights
- 2013 News Highlights
- 2012 News Highlights
Photos of our specially trained rodent detection dogs at work
They have been on South Georgia since the end of December, adding their sensitive noses to the search effort for rodents. In 2011, 2013 and 2015 over 1000 square kilometers were baited by the Trust thanks to the support of SGHT and FOSGI (Friends of South Georgia Island) donors, using helicopters to remove rodents from the island.
A rodent free South Georgia would give many birds like the pipit a better chance of surviving beyond the nest and in years to come repopulate the entire island.
Museum News for December welcomes the Tracker dogs to South Georgia
9 January 2018 “We got Dogs for Christmas!”
From the Museum’s December latest news page: “We also welcomed the new members of the Habitat Restoration team, Team Dog! The 3 rat detection dogs and their handlers were most definitely amongst the most popular on base and have now joined Team Rat out in the field for the second half of Phase 4 of the Habitat Restoration Project.”
BBC Breakfast features the South Georgia Habitat Restoration project
27 December 2017
Watch the full interview below:
Survey Tracker dogs Will & Wai on their way to South Georgia – Photos in Stanley
December 15 2017
Here are some lovely pics of the sniffer dogs who were in Stanley with their handlers this month on their way to survey South Georgia for any evidence of surviving rodents.
Globally important bird sanctuary of South Georgia monitored to determine the success of a rodent eradication project
Click on the image below or this link SGHT Phase 4 announcement press release , to download the press release in pdf format.
Rodent eradication scaled up: clearing rats and mice from South Georgia
August 8 2017
An academic paper by Tony Martin and Mike Richardson entitled Rodent eradication scaled up: clearing rats and mice from South Georgia is now published by Cambridge University Press and available to the public from the above link.
SGA Event: New and future science from South Georgia and the surrounding seas, Nov 10
November 10th 2017, at the Aurora, Cambridge
The South Georgia Association is organising an event on November 10th 2017 on New and future science from South Georgia and the surrounding seas.
Presentations, by scientists who are actively involved in research, will be pitched for the membership of the South Georgia Association and others who have a wide range of knowledge and expertise relevant to the Island but not all of whom are scientists. This is a full day event followed by a drinks reception and supper in the Icebreaker at BAS. The programme will be accompanied by an exhibition of artwork and photographic images related to South Georgia.
The event will be held at the Aurora, Cambridge, the British Antarctic Survey’s new innovation and conference centre
The full programme can be found at: http://www.southgeorgiaassociation.org/events.html
HRH The Princess Royal To Open The 2017 Island Invasives Conference
This book telling the story so far of the Habitat Restoration project was named the 6th best book of 2016 by British Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology.
“The story of this hugely ambitious and challenging project is skillfully told in this book with a highly readable text that has been married with many superb photographs. Having introduced the islands and their importance for birds, the book summaries the huge problems caused by the introduced Brown Rats Rattus norvegicus and then explains how they were dealt with, from the initial planning stages through to completion of the project. The work carried out is already starting to pay dividends, though further checks are required to make sure that the islands really are now completely free of ‘furry invaders’. Proceeds from the book will help to raise funds for this monitoring work, providing an additional reason (if you needed one) for investing in this book.”
Buy the book here.
Reclaiming South Georgia – Review in British Birds Magazine
Tony Martin’s book “Reclaiming South Georgia: the defeat of furry invaders on a sub-Antartctic island” is reviewed by Martin Heubeck in British Birds magazine September 2016.
Tony’s book tells the story of the Habitat Restoration project which aimed to eradicate rodents from the island.
Shackleton Centenary Online Art Auction 20 May 2016
In honour of Shackleton, Worsley and Crean’s famous traverse of South Georgia, artist Michael J. Skidmore has generously offered the South Georgia Heritage Trust (SGHT) this wonderful painting for auction.
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.
We received very positive feedback from Darwin Plus on Phase 3 of the Habitat Restoration Project. Here are quotes from their review of our report:
“This project was very carefully planned and meticulously executed, as it needed to be to eradicate an entire population of rats over such a wide area.”
“…it is safe to state that this project represented very good value for money.”
“There is a strong emphasis in this project on transparent project management and decision making.”
“… rodent eradication programmes on other UK Overseas Territories and beyond will be informed by the South Georgia operation, once its success has been proven unequivocally”
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.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.
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.
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.
(Photo of pipit nest courtesy South Georgia Newsletter, January 2015 )
- Habitat Restoration project on BBC News South Georgia rat eradication mission sets sail, also onBBC 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.
- 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.
- On 8th February 2012, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) awarded SGHT £250,000 of funding towards the South Georgia Habitat Restoration project.
- 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.’