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  • Writer's pictureLaura Beasley

Tell the albatross: Help is on the way!

Updated: Nov 9, 2018

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Island Conservation formalize partnership to protect species on Gough and Henderson Islands.

On 17th of May, 2018, The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and Island Conservation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formally announcing their partnership to save species on Gough and Henderson Islands. The partners have a shared goal of protecting, restoring, and managing native populations of wildlife and ecosystems impacted by invasive species on these two globally significant islands. Prior to signing this MOU, the RSPB and IC worked together on a contractual work basis. As a result of the MOU, Island Conservation will join the overall Gough Island Restoration Project Steering Committee and the Technical Advisory Group.

Gough Island is a large, remote, uninhabited island in the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, in the South Atlantic, more than 1,500 miles from Cape Town, South Africa. Gough is considered vital nesting habitat for a number of species including the Atlantic Petrel, the endemic Tristan Albatross, the Gough Bunting, and the Small-billed MacGillivray’s Prion. The island, which was once a thriving sub-Antarctic ecosystem, is now plagued by invasive house mice that threaten rare and endemic (found nowhere else on Earth) native bird and plant species.

Island Conservation will work with the RSPB and the projects partners to restore Gough Island (G.Krosin)

Henderson Island is one of four sub-tropical islands that form the Pitcairn Group in the South Pacific Ocean. Henderson Island is home to over 55 species found nowhere else on earth, including four unique land-birds: the Henderson fruit-dove, Henderson lorikeet, Henderson rail and Henderson reed-warbler. The island, a global stronghold of the gadfly petrel group, is also one of two known breeding sites of the endangered Henderson petrel. Despite being uninhabited and far removed from most human activities, Henderson Island is under threat from introduced Pacific rats.

The Henderson lorikeet is one of the unique species the Henderson Island Restoration will help to conserve.
The Henderson lorikeet is one of the unique species the Henderson Island Restoration will help to conserve.

The partners will work collaboratively to plan, fundraise, implement removal of invasive species, and promote these important projects. Working together to restore Gough and Henderson Islands brings benefit to both projects. The RSPB is currently planning these two large-scale island restoration projects in the UK Overseas Territories. Island Conservation brings extensive experience and technical knowledge working to remove invasive species internationally.

The MOU is for collaborative partnership restoring Gough Island (2019) and Henderson Island (to be determined) but could be expanded to additional collaborative work on future island restoration projects.

About the RSPB

Founded in the nineteenth century to combat the trade in exotic bird feathers, the RSPB has long played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the destruction of wildlife. We have a track record in protecting nature and preventing extinctions. The RSPB is the UK Partner in BirdLife International and has responsibility for safeguarding the wildlife of the UK and in those of its Overseas Territories (UKOTs) where there is no other BirdLife partner. Although the UKOTs are part of the UK, relatively little attention is paid to the conservation of their globally important biodiversity. Saving nature on the UKOTs is therefore one of the RSPB’s highest priorities.

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation, an international non-profit conservation organization, has a mission to prevent extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. Island Conservation has completed 60 successful eradications on 60 islands, benefiting 1090 populations of 350 animal species (399 if you include subspecies), including 409 populations of 74 seabird species.

To keep up to date with all the latest news as we lead up to the 2019 eradication operation, please follow our Gough Island Facebook and Twitter pages, or contact us on the email address below to sign up for our newsletter:


The Gough Island Restoration Programme is being carried out by the RSPB in partnership with Tristan da CunhaBirdLife South Africa and the Department of Environmental Affairs in South Africa.

The programme is part-funded by the RSPB, the UK government, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and other generous individuals and organisations.

If you would like to support our efforts to save the Critically Endangered Tristan albatross and Gough bunting, please get in touch, or you can donate using our online form

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