As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

The giant albatross endangered by monster mice

23 October 2016 
A remote colony of seabirds is at risk from an unlikely predator - an army of tiny house mice. But one man is making it his mission to drive out the marauding rodents, says Chris Carnegy.

Keith Springer doesn't really do birthdays. That's just as well, because when he turned 55 a few weeks ago he was on a forbidding lump of rock, south of the Roaring Forties. His handful of companions made him a cake, and that was that. I wonder what sort of presents he normally receives. What do you get a guy who's one of the most prolific killers on earth?

Springer carries an air of steely determination. Home is near Christchurch, New Zealand, but he's done his contract-killing in many places around the southern hemisphere. And now he's facing one of the biggest challenges of his life - the monster mice of Gough Island.

We met on a polar research ship called the Agulhas. Six days out of Cape Town it dropped me at the remote British island of Tristan da Cunha, where I do some volunteering for the local government. I saw Keith again on the return leg, by which time he'd sailed further south, and landed on Tristan's sister island.

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