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This is the story, in word and image, of the SGHT Habitat Restoration Project fieldwork that took place on South Georgia in three phases (in 2011, 2013 and 2015), baiting every inch of rodent-infested land on the island. Much work remains to be done in the coming years to check if every rodent has indeed gone and this book has been created to raise funds for this crucial monitoring phase of the project. Every photo in the book was taken by a member of Team Rat, and the story is a personal account by Project Director Professor Tony Martin of the challenges and triumphs involved in routing the furry invaders.
Extract from cover notes: “In stunning imagery and text, Reclaiming South Georgia tells the inspiring story of how a globally important wildlife haven, badly damaged by human intervention, was set on the road to recovery by humans of a later generation. … In a world of seemingly endless bad news about the environment, this is a rare story of hope and success in the face of huge challenges."
This photo, taken in January 2015, shows the first South Georgia Pipit nest discovered in an area cleared of rodents by the Habitat Restoration Project. The nest was spotted at Schlieper Bay on the South coast of the North-West baiting zone at Weddell Point. This area was treated in May 2013 as part of Phase 2 of the project.
The nest, containing five chicks, was discovered by none other than Sally Poncet, a former member of Team Rat and expert on the wildlife of South Georgia. This thrilling news shows the rapid impact of the Habitat Restoration Project on this potentially endangered species. Read more here
The island of South Georgia is a unique place; it is one of nature's paradises and yet it is also rich with historical heritage.
South Georgia is positioned in the Southern Ocean between the cold southern Antarctic waters and the warmer waters to the north. These contrasting influences contribute to the island’s exceptional natural beauty, creating a unique environment that supports an abundance of marine and terrestrial .
This same abundance attracted humans to South Georgia, which became a centre for the unsustainable and industries. The island was also the gateway to the Antarctic for heroes of polar exploration including . With its legacy of scientific research undertaken during the Discovery Investigations, its deserted whaling stations once home to communities of British and Norwegian whalers, and its pivotal role in the history of the Falklands war, South Georgia has a diverse, conflicting, and yet fascinating human heritage.
While sealing and whaling practices have now ceased, South Georgia continues to suffer from the long-term impact of human inhabitation – the ongoing devastation of South Georgia's bird population by the introduced .
The aims to work with all who wish to preserve the island's natural and historical heritage for future generations – to redress the damage to its environment done in the past, and to preserve the human heritage of the island which so clearly shows the best and worst of humanity. The groundbreaking will save native birds from extinction and increase by millions the numbers of endangered seabirds on South Georgia.
Help us to preserve the island’s past and to create a better future for South Georgia's wildlife. Please to SGHT today.