This e-mail was sent to all African Bird Club members, but it should really be of interest to everyone!

Dear ABC Member

It is not often that the African Bird Club tries to lobby on an issue, but we are very concerned at the plight of the Tristan Albatross on Gough Island.

A species of mouse has become a serious threat to the birds’ chicks, and the video clip below shows you how serious this is. 86% of the adults failed to rear a chick in the latest breeding season, and this was already a Critically Endangered species. The UK government has responsibility for Gough Island conservation issues because it is an Overseas Territory. However to date little interest has been shown in funding an eradication programme to reduce the threat. Being about 10,000km away from Parliament it is tempting to ignore this problem, but if it were happening on the Scottish islands or the Scilly Isles we’d see some action. In addition to attacking the albatrosses the mice also predate on the nests of the Gough Bunting too.

See the video:

There is also a very useful news report on the Birdlife website:

I do hope you will consider writing to your MP, and maybe also the Ministers responsible at Defra and the Foreign Office.

Overall please press them to adequately fund conservation in the UK Overseas Territories. Currently only about £1m a year is spent on conservation for these islands despite the fact that there are 32 globally threatened bird species and countless other threatened taxa on them. An RSPB study shows that about £16m a year should be spent to properly protect the Overseas Territories’ biodiversity. That is a tiny sum when compared to what is spent in the UK.

Specifically please urge them to fund the eradication of this mouse without delay. The RSPB has been funded to assess the eradication possibility, but no funding is available to carry out the work.

You can write to your MP at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. Most MPs also accept emails.

If you don’t know who your MP is, or need their email address:

The Government Ministers with power to influence this are:

Rt Hon Hilary Benn MP

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Nobel House
17 Smith Square

London SW1P 3JR

Rt Hon David Miliband MP

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

King Charles Street

Thank you for your time, and please feel free to contact me if you need more information.


Keith Betton


African Bird Club