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Rabbits blamed for penguin deaths in landslide

Earth News: Macquarie Island

The landslip hit a penguin rookery at Lusitania Bay on Macquarie Island. (file photo) (ABC)
Oct 21, 2006
Erosion and heavy spring rains have caused a large landslip on Macquarie Island, in the Southern Ocean about 1500 kilometres south-east of Tasmania, killing penguins in an important colony.
The fragile sub-Antarctic world heritage area has been overrun with more than 100,000 rabbits in recent years, which are stripping the island bare of its plants.
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney says the landslip happened late last month at Lusitania Bay, on the eastern side of the island, about 25 kilometres from Australia's research base.
He says about 500 square metres of soil gave way due to the combination of heavy spring rains and severe erosion caused by the rabbits.

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