It is a cautionary tale of recklessness, good intentions and the ecological mayhem that can result when people interfere with the delicate balance of Mother Nature: scientists today catalogued the unfortunate series of biological events caused by human meddling and alien species that has devastated the once pristine sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island.
Lessons must be learnt on all sides, the scientists say, because well-intentioned attempts by conservation experts to fix the island have so far made the situation worse. Life across almost half the island, a World Heritage site, has been affected, and experts are now weighing up a £11m rescue plan.
Dana Bergstrom, of the Australian Antarctic Division said: "The big lesson is to question all assumptions made in managing and removing alien species from special areas, because there could be unintended consequences."
Things began to go wrong on Macquarie Island, halfway between Australia and Antarctica, ...