Macquarie Island is located halfway between New Zealand and Antarctica. The island is a long, thin strip, 34km long and about 5km wide. One of the few points of land in that part of the planet where native birds and other wildlife can breed.
Since humans visited the island in the early 1800’s, the island got infested by all kind of rabbits and rodents. Introducing cats to the island wasn’t a good idea when the growing cat population became a problem itself. In the early 1980s myxomatosis was introduced and it helped for a while.
In 2007 a new approach was launched. It involved killing most of the rabbits with baits dropped from helicopters, then bringing in detection dogs to eliminate any survivors. On 8 April 2014 Macquarie Island was officially declared pest-free after seven years of conservation efforts.
The vital role played by dogs in eradicating rabbits and rodents from Macquarie Island has been commemorated in a special stamp series.