Orak waited for a sign from Felix before summoning his tempus machine. Felix had planned a fantastic adventure for his friends. They were heading to Macquarie Island, located in the ocean between Australia and Antarctica.
“Why are we going to this place?” said Scorch.
“Oh! I know why!” exclaimed Verum, “It’s the only place in the world where rocks from the Earth’s mantle are visible above sea level. The mantle is the layer between the Earth’s outermost layer called the crust and the outer core. It is mostly made up of solid rocks.
Did you know that Macquarie Island is a UNESCO world heritage site?”
“You’re right, Verum,” said Felix, “But that’s not why we’re going here. Let me tell you a story.
Being a remote island, Macquarie Island had a unique ecosystem. It had giant tussock grass and forests. It had mega herbs like the Macquarie Island cabbage which can grow taller than a human. It was also the breeding place for countless birds such as penguins, albatrosses, prions, and petrels.
But in the 1800s, people who visited the island left behind pests like rabbits, mice, rats, and feral cats. These animals began munching on all the yummy grass and other plants on the island. The cats attacked the bird populations. Along with this, the rabbits burrowed into the ground.
This severely damaged the island’s ecosystems and biodiversity. The landscape was stripped of its vegetation which impacted the insect population. Birds like blue and grey petrels were hunted off the island by cats.
However, the Macquarie Island Pest Eradication Project was launched. First, the cat population on the island was removed, followed by mice and rats. In 2007, Melissa Houghton and her black labrador, Wags, were sent to the island to deal with the rabbits.
In 2014, they located the last rabbit on the island. Macquarie Island was declared pest-free. Since then, the vegetation has begun growing back. The birds’ population has improved. This means biodiversity is also on the rise!
Isn’t it lovely? The island is returning to what it once was!”