Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Rodent Detected On ‘Pest-Free’ Kiwi Crèche Island


Rodent Detected On ‘Pest-Free’ Kiwi Crèche Island

A large Norway rat discovered in a permanent trap on the ‘pest-free’ island of Motuora in the Hauraki Gulf has sparked a Department of Conservation (DOC) response operation. Motuora, which is jointly managed by DOC and the Motuora Restoration Society and is home to young kiwi chicks and other threatened species, has never had a population of mammalian predators such as rats, stoats or ferrets.

The rat was found yesterday during a regular check, caught in one of the sentry stations designed to detect and trap any invading pests. Based on the level of decay, it is estimated the animal had been dead at least a fortnight. A similar invasion in February 2008 ended with a single rat being caught after several weeks of effort.

The main concern now is the risk that other rodents may be present, prompting DOC staff and volunteers to widen the trapping programme with a large number of extra traps placed over the island. This afternoon a rodent detection dog will be deployed, a tool that has proved effective in the past.

Rory Renwick, Biodiversity Programme Manager for DOC, said the implications of a rat on the island are huge and it was important to ensure no other rodents are present as soon as possible to avoid further risk to the island.

“We’re planning for the worst case scenario, where this may not be the only rat that’s stepped ashore. Staff and volunteers are flat out laying extra traps– we are doing everything feasible to catch anything else that’s there,” he said.

Mr Renwick said it was most likely the rodent had arrived on the island as a stowaway in a visitor’s boat, kayak or gear.

“Motuora is out of the range that rats have been known to swim, so the only other way it could have got here is via people. Even though it was probably inadvertent, it is disappointing that someone’s lack of understanding of the risks has resulted in us having a rat here.

“We are always reminding people to check their gear and boats for pests before landing on, or near, conservation islands and this incident shows why.”

Mr Renwick said Motuora was just one of a number of pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park that had been undergoing extensive restoration work.

“A rat can have such a huge impact on all the conservation work taking place on these islands. Quite simply, this is preventable. We all have a responsibility to protect these special places,” he said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

LA-London Out; Auckland-NY In: "New Era" For Air NZ International

Air New Zealand is accelerating its ambitions for North America and will launch a non-stop service between Auckland and New York using its 787-9 Dreamliner in October 2020. More>>

ALSO:

Data Investment: Govt Backs Te Reo, Environmental Data Research

The Government is investing in ambitious research that will digitise Te Reo, grow the low-carbon protein efficient aquaculture industry, help interpret environmental trends, and large data sets says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan ... More>>

ALSO:

Training: 27 Percent Increase In Trades Academy Places

Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap. More>>

ALSO:

Unsolicited Messages: NZ Company Fined $36,000

The New Zealand Trustees Association (NZTA) and founder, Errol Anderson, have been fined a total penalty of NZ$ 44,000 in the Auckland High Court for sending unsolicited commercial electronic messages. More>>

Marine And Freshwater Reports: EDS Calls For Urgent Action On Marine Management

“There are some big issues to address. These include many marine species and habitats that are in serious trouble. Of the sample investigated, the report finds that 22% of marine mammals, 90% of seabirds and 80% of shorebirds are threatened with or actually at risk of extinction..." More>>

ALSO: