Taukihepa / Big South Cape Island
Big South Cape Island is the largest of the islands marked on this map as "Muttonbird Islands" to the southwest of Stewart Island / Rakiura
|Location||South Tasman Sea, southwest of Stewart Island / Rakiura|
|Archipelago||New Zealand archipelago|
|Area||9 km2 (3.5 sq mi)|
|Length||5.5 km (3.42 mi)|
|Width||2.5 km (1.55 mi)|
|Highest elevation||235 m (771 ft)|
Big South Cape Island or Taukihepa is an offshore island of New Zealand to the west of the southern tip of Stewart Island / Rakiura. The island has no permanent inhabitants but muttonbirders visit the island to catch the sooty shearwater, known in New Zealand as a "muttonbird".
The island is the largest of a group of islands off the southwestern coast of Stewart Island / Rakiura, from which it is separated by a 1,500-metre (4,921 ft) wide channel. Surrounding smaller islands include Poutama Island to the south, Putauhina Island and the Putauhina Nuggets to the northwest, and Solomon Island to the north. The island rises to a height of 235 metres (771 ft) at its centre, and numerous small streams run to the coast. Named features on the island include two inlets - Murderers Cove in the central east coast and Puwai Bay in the island's southwest. It has an area of about 900 hectares (2,200 acres).
Rats made it to the island in the 1960s from a visiting boat and caused one of New Zealand's greatest ecological disasters of the twentieth century. Previously free of mammalian predators, the ecology of the island was devastated in a matter of years and many endemic species of bird (some flightless) were driven to extinction. The surviving biomass of insect and bird life has been heavily reduced. An eradication programme to rid the island of rats was started in 2006.
- Conservation in New Zealand
- List of Antarctic and subantarctic islands
- List of islands of New Zealand
- New Zealand subantarctic islands
- Natural History New Zealand - Island Eaten by Rats, a television programme about the rat problem