Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Rakino rats on the way out


Rakino rats on the way out

Rakino Island’s population of troublesome Norway rats is down and probably out thanks to a successful joint community pest eradication initiative.

For many years the Norway rat has wreaked havoc on the 146 hectare island. Specimens measuring up to 42cm long have been found on Rakino where the high numbers of the rats have habitually posed a nuisance and even a health risk to residents and bach owners.

The Norway rat preys on the eggs and young chicks of seabirds like the blue penguin and this rat was probably responsible for exterminating the grey-faced petrel from Rakino.

The Norway rat is thought to have been accidentally introduced to New Zealand in 1774 from Captain Cook’s ship Resolution. In 1959, Norway rats are believed to have been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of white-faced storm petrels on Maria Island in the Noises. The Norway rat which is an excellent swimmer is thought to have periodically reinvaded the Noises Islands from Rakino frustrating the Department of Conservation’s attempts to keep these high conservation value islands rat free.

But Auckland Regional Council member and Hauraki Gulf conservationist Mike Lee says the ARC, supported by Auckland City Council, (through the efforts of Waiheke Community Board member Nettie Johnstone), and with practical advice from the Department of Conservation and Auckland University School of Biological Sciences, the volunteer labour of the School of Outdoor Studies and the Rakino Ratepayers Association has initiated a programme which appears to have finally cleared the island of rats.

Mike Lee a long term advocate for the eradication of rats from Rakino had been involved in two previous unsuccessful attempts to eliminate rats from the island, and had strongly lobbied for the programme to go ahead.

“The operation worked this time because we had the unanimous support of all the residents and the resources of a coalition of public agencies behind it,“ Cr Lee says.

The programme was directed by ARC Biosecurity manager Steve Hix, who also managed the successful ARC Operation ForestSave possum control programme in the Waitakere ranges.

Mr Hix says that a grid network of approximately 720 bait stations using Talon brodifaum anti-coagulant poison, was laid on the island in early August and three months later, all stations have become inactive indicating that the rat population has been exterminated or is very close to it.

Mr Hix says all parties deserve to be congratulated for their efforts to eradicate the rats.

“Everyone involved has done a great job but I would urge continued vigilance to ensure Rakino does not become re-infested with Norway rats,” he says.

“Rakino residents and anyone travelling to and from the island need to be extremely careful. Boat owners should check their loads to ensure there are no unwanted intruders and residents should keep a sharp look out over the next few months.”

The ARC has provided the island’s residents with tracking tunnels and rat traps enable monitoring and response to any new sightings.

Cr Lee says, “Rat eradication programmes are normally carried our using aerial drops of poison. This was not feasible in the case of Rakino where there is a permanent population and where people collect their water from their roofs. Rakino because it has extensive areas of rank Kikuyu grass, which forms mats sometimes waist deep, can be a difficult place to work,” he says. “If successful, this is one of the larger rodent eradication programmes carried out on an island in New Zealand”.

He says the progressive elimination of pests from islands, especially rats is a vital objective in the restoration of ecosystems on all of the Hauraki Gulf Islands which now form the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Cr Lee said the ARC led initiative on Rakino was “walking the talk” - a putting into action the purposes and principles of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.

Cr Lee says if the Rakino programme is confirmed to be successful, it raises the question of the eradication of rats from neighbouring Motutapu/Rangitoto Islands. “This should be next big objective on the conservationist agenda. Such an achievement would allow the return of native birds to these islands be the ultimate prize for conservation for Auckland and the inner Hauraki Gulf.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news