The Macquarie Island Ranger Team
Penny Pascoe and I are the two rangers based at Macquarie Island this winter for the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service. Our job is to contribute to the management of the Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area’s significant geological, flora, fauna and historic heritage values. We also look after biosecurity surveillance to prevent the accidental introduction of invasive species and pathogens that have the potential to cause enormous damage to the island. Biosecurity is especially important following the recent successful eradication of rabbits, rats, and mice.
What rangers do each day depends on things like the weather, what is happening with the wildlife and the time of year. Some of the diverse jobs that rangers will do this year are:
- Maintain biosecurity surveillance and screening of all visitors and cargo to ensure that no new invasive species are introduced to the reserve.
- Count seals, penguins and other animals to monitor their populations.
- Search for burrowing petrels to determine where they are breeding.
- Manage visits by educational tourist ships.
- Record significant events, such as storms or visits by animals infrequently seen at the island.
- Care for walking tracks and other infrastructure.
- Monitor the condition of historic heritage sites, such as old huts and the places where seals and penguins were processed for oil.
- Oversee the operation of Australian Antarctic Program station and scientific programs to ensure that reserve values are protected.
- Clean up marine debris along the coastline.
Many of these jobs require us to walk long distances, cross steep and rough terrain and spend lots of time out in cold and windy sub-Antarctic weather. As well as enjoying these challenges, it is very rewarding to be able to help look after the island while exploring spectacular places, have close encounters with special wildlife species and see how the island’s vegetation is recovering.
As members of the small community of 15 people living here at the Australian Antarctic Division’s Macquarie Island station this winter, we also help with chores, assist with the running of the station and participate in community events. We’re all lucky to be down here working and living on this very remote and special sub-Antarctic island.
Andrea Turbett — Ranger In Charge, Macquarie Island 70th ANARE