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Mustelid detection dog ‘Crete’ breaks leg

26 November 2010

Mustelid detection dog ‘Crete’ breaks leg

Crete is expected to make a full recovery

A broken leg has hampered the efforts of ‘Crete’ the specialist mustelid detection dog sent to Kapiti Island on Tuesday.

Crete, a border terrier/fox terrier cross, and handler Scott Theobold were sent to Kapiti Island to help verify the presence of a stoat spotted by a Department of Conservation (DOC) contractor.

The break occurred while undertaking normal tracking duties said Rob Stone, DOC Kapiti Wellington Area Manager. “Kapiti Island has some fairly rugged country and unfortunately Crete took a fall over one of the bluffs on the island”.

“We were able to get him medical attention fairly quickly and he is expected to make a full recovery following surgery on the leg”.

While Crete had limited opportunity to detect the presence of a stoat, he did lead Scott Theobold to ‘scat’ or faecal matter that may have been from a mustelid, south of Rangitira point.

Mr Stone noted that it may be a week before it is known what type of animal was responsible for the scat. “We have sent the faecal matter away for DNA analysis to get confirmation or otherwise that it is from a stoat”.

A dead kakariki/parakeet was also found in a similar location to the scat and the body has also been sent for analysis.

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Efforts to detect and trap the pest on the island are ongoing, with tracking tunnels and traps continuing to be set and checked and specialist advice sought regarding the best way to capture the stoat.

“We are currently organising another mustelid detection dog to continue Crete’s good work” said Mr Stone.

“Kapiti Island is a really valuable nature reserve and sanctuary and we want to keep it that way”.


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