House mice on islands: management and lessons from New Zealand

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ISBN: 978-2-8317-1961-0
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House mice on islands: management and lessons from New Zealand

The impacts of house mice (Mus musculus), one of four invasive rodent species in New Zealand, are only clearly revealed on islands and fenced sanctuaries without rats and other invasive predators which suppress mouse populations, influence their behaviour, and confound their impacts. When the sole invasive mammal on islands, mice can reach high densities and influence ecosystems in similar ways to rats. Eradicating mice from islands is not as difficult as previously thought, if best practice techniques developed and refined in New Zealand are applied in association with diligent planning and implementation. Adopting this best practice approach has resulted in successful eradication of mice from several islands in New Zealand and elsewhere including some of the largest ever targeted for mice; in multi-species eradications; and where mouse populations were still expanding after recent invasion. Prevention of mice reaching rodent-free islands remains an ongoing challenge as they are inveterate stowaways, potentially better swimmers than currently thought, and prolific breeders in predator-free habitat. However, emergent mouse populations can be detected with conventional surveillance tools and eradicated before becoming fully established if decisive action is taken early enough. The invasion and eventual eradication of mice on Maud Island provides a case study to illustrate New Zealand-based lessons around mouse biosecurity and eradication.

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