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

Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Declaring Premature Victory

Sure enough, Saturday’s Vaxathon was a barrel of fun and a throwback not merely to the Telethons of the past. It also revived memories of those distant days of early 2020, when we were all carefully wiping down our groceries, not touching our faces, washing our hands for 20 seconds and responding to level four lockdowns by putting teddy bears in the window for the benefit of the little kids walking by in their family bubbles. Those were the days, when the Team of Five Million felt like a real, organic thing... More>>

RNZ: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announces Cabinet decision on Covid-19 alert levels

Northland will move to level 2 at 11.59pm on 19 October. Waikato will be held at level 3, to be reviewed on Friday. Auckland will remain in level 3 with current restrictions for another two weeks... More>>



Government: Red Tape Cut To Boost Housing Supply
First home buyers are set to benefit from changes to planning rules being advanced by the Government and the National Party that will enable more medium density housing and cut red tape that acts as a barrier to development... More>>


Economy: Inflation highest in over a decade
The consumers price index rose 2.2 percent in the September 2021 quarter, the biggest quarterly movement since a 2.3 percent rise in the December 2010 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Excluding quarters impacted by increases to GST rates, the September quarter movement was the highest since the June 1987 quarter... More>>


Government: New Zealand Increases Climate Aid Contribution

The Government is making a four-fold increase in the support it provides to countries most vulnerable to the climate emergency, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>

Pay Cheque To Pay Cheque: Half A Million New Zealanders Have No Savings
New findings from the Consumer NZ sentiment tracker found that 15% of New Zealanders had no savings, and a further 27% were anxious about their level of savings and would like to have more tucked away... More>>

Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>




InfoPages News Channels