Island is Wonderland for Penguins Once Again After Dog Helps Eradicate 300,000 Invasive Rabbits:
A UNESCO Natural Heritage Site has been saved from a rabbit and rat rampage, and 8 years after being declared free of invasives, the island is looking like its old self again. This island, named Macquarie Island, is an extraordinary place with exposed rock from the Earth’s mantle and a vast network of bird species living on the island. However, just like every other island on Earth, sailors during the 1800s brought cats, rats, mice, and rabbits ashore which decimated the head-high endemic vegetation and insect populations, causing knock-on effects that seriously threatened to turn the island into a barren rock. Melissa Houghton was brought ashore as a dog handler with her black lab “Wags” as part of a $24.6 million effort by Tasmania and Australia to eradicate the invasive mammals from the island launched in 2007. By the end of 2014 native life on the island rebounded spectacularly and happy penguins can be seen in their new rodent-free home.