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Possible cat sightings in bay between Rangitoto & Motutapu

Media Release

Wednesday February 7, 2018

DOC responding to possible cat sightings in bay between Rangitoto & Motutapu

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responding to two possible sightings of a black cat, at Islington Bay, which connects Rangitoto and Motutapu islands, in the Hauraki Gulf.

“Two members of the public have reported to DOC that they saw, what they believe, is a black cat on the shoreline at Islington Bay,” says Acting DOC Auckland Inner Islands Operations Manager John Galilee.

Rangitoto and Motutapu are connected by a short bridge, at the top of Islington Bay. One of the reported cat sightings was on the Rangitoto side of the bay. The other reported cat sighting was on the Motutapu side of the bay.

Cats eat native birds, bats, lizards, wētā and other native insects. Rangitoto and neighbouring Motutapu have been free of cats, rats, possums, mice and other animal predators and pests since 2011.

“We’re taking the reported sightings of a cat at Islington Bay very seriously,” says John Galilee.

“We need to know if there is, or isn’t, a cat on Rangitoto or Motutapu in the Islington Bay area. So we’ve launched a response to determine if there is a cat there.”

“We’re sending two Conservation Dogs, trained to detect cats, and their handler, to Islington Bay to try and establish if there’s a cat in the area,” says John Galilee

The Conservation Dogs and their handler are due to arrive at Islington Bay tomorrow morning (Thursday February 8).

“We’re able to get these dogs to the island so quickly because of Kiwibank’s support for DOC’s Conservation Dog Programme,” says John Galilee.

DOC is placing motion sensitive cameras and cat tracking devices, in the area where the members of the public reported seeing a black cat.

Traps designed to catch cats are also being placed in the same area. The traps have been approved by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee. The committee includes representatives nominated and supported by Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

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

“We have biosecurity systems in place because there’s an ever-present risk of a cat, rat or mouse making it to one of these islands,” says John Galilee.

“We want to remind the public that cats and dogs are not allowed on pest free islands. That’s because of the serious threat they pose to native birds and other native wildlife on these islands,” John Galilee.


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