UK Overseas Territories, which number 14 globally, are home to the most spectacular wildlife and some of the richest biodiversity on our planet. They hold every major habitat type on earth and at least 94% of the UK’s wildlife species. As one of the largest funders of work relating to the environment, climate change and biodiversity preservation and conservation we are pleased to support the Gough Island Restoration Programme in partnership with the RSPB.  This project builds on previous projects we have funded with similar characteristics such as the South Georgia Heritage Trust which has now successfully eradicated rats from the habitat.

Gough Island is a remote, uninhabited island and World Heritage Site in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, in the South Atlantic Ocean. It is a nesting ground relied upon by millions of seabirds including many who breed there exclusively and is an important site for a range of critically endangered species such as the Tristan Albatross, Gough Bunting, and Atlantic petrel. However, mice were accidentally introduced to Gough island, (believed to be by sailors during the 19th Century) and since arriving they have caused havoc, learning to exploit all available food sources, as well as harming both adult seabirds and their chicks. The mice are unfortunately currently causing the loss of over two million seabird chicks every year.

The RSPB’s expert team are spearheading an eradication and restoration programme on the island and are working with the Tristan da Cunha Government, Island Council and the local community, as well as key stakeholders in South Africa to support the development and implementation of effective long-term biosecurity procedures to ensure neither mice nor other non-native species are able to recolonise the island in the future.

“Faced with our planet’s enormous environmental challenges, our Trustees are keen to support charities leading important work in the UK’s Overseas Territories. Such projects provide a compelling opportunity to achieve tangible, positive and meaningful impact, at a time when prioritising our planet has never been more important”.

Philippa Charles, Director, Garfield Weston Foundation