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

 

DOC responds after possible rat sighting on Hauturu


DOC responds after possible rat sighting on Hauturu/Little Barrier Island

The Department of Conservation (DOC) has activated a response plan following a possible rat sighting on pest-free Hauturu/ Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

Hauturu is a pest-free nature reserve that’s home to around 40 species of rare or endangered native birds, plus wetapunga and native lizards. There are more than 400 types of native plants in the native forest that covers the island.

Rats are a major threat to native wildlife. They eat eggs and chicks of native birds. They eat native lizards and weta. And they eat seeds and flowers depriving native birds of food.

A DOC ranger looking under a shelter on Hauturu, late on Wednesday afternoon(Dec 6), saw something move that may have been a rat.

The shelter is 632 metres above sea level on a steep ridge. It takes five hours to walk to the hut, on tracks, from the DOC base on the island’s coast.

“The area under the shelter was very dark. The ranger caught a brief glimpse of something retreating into the darkness. His initial thought was that it could have been a rat or a robin, a bird that spends a lot of time on the ground eating insects,” says DOC Auckland Inner Islands Operations Manager Keith Gell.

The ranger checked a rodent tracking tunnel under the shelter. The tracking tunnel has an ink card to pick up track marks if a rat or mouse walks through the tunnel. There were no rat tracks on the card but the ink may have become too dry.

The ranger viewed the card with a magnifying glass and saw what he thinks may have been tiny hairs.

The ranger placed the ink card in an evidence bag. The ink card has been flown by helicopter to the mainland to be examined by DOC scientists.

“We need to know if there is, or isn’t, a rat on Hauturu. So, we’ve launched a response plan to determine if a rat has made it to the island,’’ says Keith Gell.

“This morning (Friday Dec 8) we flew a DOC ranger with a rodent detecting Conservation Dog to Hauturu by helicopter. They searched under and around the shelter and the surrounding area. No trace of a rat was detected by the Conservation Dog.”

“We’ve set up a network of devices at the shelter site to see if we can detect a rat,” says Keith Gell.

The network includes three motion sensor cameras, that can record images day and night. Tracking tunnels with fresh ink cards, chew cards that record a rat’s teeth marks and rat traps. The tracking tunnels, chew cards and traps are baited with peanut butter that is proven to attract rats.

“A ranger is staying in the shelter for the next week to monitor the cameras, tracking tunnels, chew cards and traps as part of our response plan to determine if there is or isn’t a rat on Hauturu,” says Keith Gell.

DOC works in partnership with Auckland Council to protect the pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

“We have biosecurity systems in place, to protect these pest-free sanctuaries because there’s an ever-present risk of a pest making it to one of these islands,” says Keith Gell.

“As part of our biosecurity systems, we’ve activated this plan to determine if there is or isn’t a rat on Hauturu,” says Keith Gell.

“Just over three weeks ago we activated a response plan after a possible mouse sighting on Tiritiri Matangi. We have found no trace of a mouse on Tiritiri Matangi and are looking at scaling back that response,” says Keith Gell.

Additional information

To protect the native wildlife and native forest on Hauturu, every visitor requires a permit from DOC and is subject to strict biosecurity measures. Hauturu is 21.4km from mainland Auckland.

DOC’s Conservation Dogs Programme is supported by Kiwibank

http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservationdogs

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case...

Obviously, sick people shouldn’t be being treated by doctors and nurses who are themselves sick and potentially infectious. Similarly, Police emergency calls also need to be fielded by people who’re feeling alert, and on top of their game. More>>

 
 

MPs' Computers To Be Searched: Inquiry Into Leak On Simon Bridges' Expenses

An inquiry has been launched to find out who leaked the National Party's expenses to the media... Parliament's speaker, Trevor Mallard, said a Queen's Counsel would lead the inquiry with the help of an employment lawyer and also someone with forensic IT skills. More>>

ALSO:

Teachers Strike: Nationwide Rallies And Marches

Teachers and principals voted for a full day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: City Council Ends Its Support For Jackson’s Movie Museum

The Wellington City Council and the Movie Museum Limited have today announced a mutually-agreed parting of the ways for a joint project between the Council’s Convention Centre and TMML’s Movie Museum... Both parties remain optimistic for the future of their respective projects. More>>

Pay Equity: Historic Settlement For Education Support Workers

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) and the Ministry of Education today signed Terms of Settlement to address a pay equity claim for 329 support workers who work with very young children in early childhood and primary schools. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Stereotypes About Jacinda Ardern

Routinely, female politicians get depicted as either show ponies or battle axes, with little room for anything else in between. .. More>>

Weekend Interviews: "Discriminatory And Racist" Aussie Deportations

The former president of Australia’s Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says deportations have risen dramatically in Australia since 2014 when ministers and ministerial delegates were given the power to cancel visas - and half of those being deported are New Zealanders. "These are massive numbers, actually escalating dramatically."... More>>

ALSO:

Legal Challenge: Prisoner Has 9 Boxes Of Documents Seized

Human rights organisation People Against Prisons Aotearoa says a prisoner they advocate for has had 9 boxes of legal documents seized from him just days before his case against the Department of Corrections was to be heard. More>>

Single-Use Plastic Bags: Govt To Phase Them Out

Single-use plastic shopping bags will be phased out over the next year, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages