Invasive species on islands: Macquarie Island, a Unesco world heritage site, was being eaten alive until an ambitious eradication programme restored it

On a world map, Macquarie Island is a speck in the Southern Ocean, but for ecologists it is a beacon, illuminating a future for grand-scale environmental recovery projects.

Melissa Houghton first set foot on the 34km-long green streak as a dog handler in late 2011. Rabbits, cats, rats and mice had been introduced by sealers in the 1800s and were wreaking havoc on the world heritage site. At their peak, there were approximately 300,000 European rabbits and an untold number of black rats and house mice.

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