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Help keep pests and pets off conservation islands

23 December 2005

Help keep pests and pets off Auckland’s conservation islands

The Department of Conservation is encouraging people to get out and enjoy conservation islands in the Hauraki Gulf this summer but is asking they do their bit to help keep introduced pests and weeds and pets off them.

Department of Conservation Auckland Conservator Sean Goddard said visitors to conservation islands in the gulf should be aware of the threat of new pests and weeds, and make personal checks to ensure they don’t bring rats, mice, insects such as Argentine Ants or weed seeds ashore.

“We’re appealing to boaties to make sure their vessels are pest-free, and asking all island visitors to check their packs, clothing and boots before they visit any conservation island in the gulf.”

“Millions of dollars has gone into getting rid of animal pests and weeds on some of these islands, and a huge volunteer effort is going into restoring islands such at Motuora, Motuihe and Motutapu. We all need to be vigilant in protecting this investment.”

Boaties are also reminded that no dogs or cats are allowed on DOC-managed conservation islands including the beaches down to the low-tide level, said Mr Goddard. Dogs are also not allowed on conservation land on Kawau and Great Barrier islands.

Dogs can disturb and kill wildlife such as shorebirds, penguins and kiwi. Several islands in the gulf have kiwi on them, including Motuora, Kawau and Ponui.

Conservation islands such as Rangitoto, Motutapu, Motuihe, Motuora and Tiritiri Matangi are popular summer destinations for boaties and ferry day-trippers who go to enjoy the wildlife, history, walking tracks and beaches.

These islands are in various stages of being ‘pest-free’ with Tiritiri Matangi, Motuora and Motuihe free of all introduced mammalian pests such as rats, mice, mustelids (stoats and ferrets), possums, cats, hedgehogs and rabbits. Rangitoto and Motutapu are free of possums, ferrets and weasels. All of these islands have ongoing programmes to control introduced weeds.

Great Barrier Island, 60 percent of which is public conservation land, is free of Norway rats, mustelids, possums, hedgehogs and deer. And Burgess Island, the only island in the Mokohinau group that the public can land on, is also free of all mammalian pests.

Before visiting conservation islands:

- Check baggage and stores for rats, mice and insects, and packs, clothes and shoes for weed seeds

- Keep an eye out for signs of stowaway rodents on your boat

- For larger boats, have bait stations, baited traps or glue boards on board and check them regularly

- Leave your pets at home – dogs and cats are not allowed on conservation islands or beaches down to the low-tide level

ENDS

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