27 Apr 2013

Suwarrow Blog Five – A motley crew and mixed cargoes

By Nick.Hayward

The latest blog from wildlife filmmaker Nick Hayward as he joins a team from BirdLife and Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife in the Cook Islands) eradicating rats from Suwarrow – a seabird mecca in the South Pacific. Today the team finish loading the Southern Cross, we learn that Ian loves eggs, and that Nick feels like he’s living in a childhood adventure book… Food for eight men for a month, the eradication equipment, my photographic equipment is all safely stowed in the aft cabin. All that’s left is for Ian to pick up the 20 dozen eggs. We can say with certainty that Ian Karika is a lover of eggs. Lets hope there’s no cracked egg at sea and that the rats don’t stick their teeth into them once ashore. I have six eggs set aside outside of Ian’s reach just for the rats. I’m hoping to film the rats of Suwarrow at work cracking open eggs to illustrate what they do to the nesting seabirds. Harry and Papay the rangers are still were waiting patiently to load their equipment and supplies. Despite being working on it for the week we have been on Rarotonga, Ron, the ‘bilge rat”, still hasn’t finished the forward part of the ship. Luckily bio security won’t let any rats ashore on Suwarrow so we won’t be waiting on Ron after our arrival. Our time on Suwarrow is precious and we need all of it for a successful operation. All the team are anxious for a speedy departure. As a child I read stories of old South Seas trading vessels with a motley crew and mixed cargoes. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that I would end up sailing on one to a remote atoll. The Southern Cross and her crew is that ship sprung to life from the pages of my childhood books. What adventures are install for us next?” Nick Hayward – Rarotonga, Cook Islands, 24th April 2013. You can follow Nick’s posts by subscribing to emails at through BirdLife’s Facebook and Twitter pages. The BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme urgently needs your support to tackle more sites and save more species. To support our work and make a donation today, please go to every penny counts. Thank you. JG_donate_visa_button The expedition to remove rats from Suwarrow National Park is a joint project between BirdLife International, Te Ipukarea Society (BirdLife Partner in the Cook Islands) and the Cook Island National Environment Service. The project is being kindly supported by the European Community, David and Lucile Packard Foundation, SPREP, GEF and Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, and forms part of the BirdLife Invasive Alien Species Programme which is tackling this greatest of threats to wildlife around the world. BirdLife wishes to thank the efforts of many who are supporting the programme including Pacific Invasive Initiative, Pacific Invasive Learning Network, New Zealand Department of Conservation the University of the South Pacific, Landcare Research New Zealand, Island Conservation, Wildiaries and Nick Hayward.