DOC responds to predator incursions on two Fiordland islands
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionDOC is currently carrying out predator incursion responses after stoat footprints were found on previously predator-free Te Kākahu-O-Tamatea/Chalky Island, and rats were caught in traps on Mauīkatau/Resolution Island.
Date: 21 September 2022
Chalky Island is in southwest Fiordland. It has been free of stoats since 1999 and is a haven for several threatened and endangered species including saddleback/tīeke, little spotted kiwi, Te Kākahu skink and kākāpō.
Stoat footprints were seen during a field trip on 30 August and subsequently found in several locations across the island.
“An incursion response is now underway, this includes a stoat detection dog team, strategic trapping and future planning,” said DOC Southern South Island Director Aaron Fleming.
On Resolution Island, also in southwest Fiordland, two rats were found in traps in late July during a standard stoat trap check. While the island has mice and very few stoats and deer, it is free of possums, and up till now was one of New Zealand’s largest islands without rats.
Resolution and its surrounding small islands are home to a number of threatened species including mōhua, tīeke, Fiordland skinks, geckos and giant land snails.
“Rats pose a predation risk to individuals of these species and if well established, could lead to the loss of these populations,” said Aaron.
“An incursion response is underway as DOC works to understand how widespread the incursions are on both islands and the technical advisory group is mapping out the steps to get the situation under control as quickly as possible.”
DOC is the Government’s lead agency responsible for facilitating the Predator Free 2050 programme. We bring together the unique perspectives and knowledge of communities and collaborators. With their input, we developed the strategy to get us to the shared PF2050 goal.
Permanent eradication (of predators) is much more difficult than control – it requires more planning, resourcing, long-term support and new tools. DOC currently does both - ‘holding the line’ through control and eradication on islands and land we can defend.
For our endangered species, eradication could mean the difference between living on the edge of extinction and thriving. If you’ve been to a fenced sanctuary or predator free island, you can see and hear the difference.
We also contribute directly towards Predator Free 2050. We control predators, undertake eradication science, foster technology development, train people, build partnerships and support.
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