Stoat Suspected On Pest-free Motutapu Island
Department of Conservation (DOC) rangers and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki kaitiaki are working to catch a stoat on pest-free Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park,Auckland. Stoats pose a significant risk to threatened native wildlife, particularly native birds and lizards.
Stoat footprints were identified by a ranger undertaking routine servicing of the Island’s biosecurity sentry stations on May 20. Prints were located on the North West coast of the motu/island at Administration Bay, near the Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp. This alert comes after a stoat was confirmed on Motukorea /Browns Island a few weeks back.
DOC’s Operations Manager, Katharine Lane says “DOC and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki had been working through the lockdown on Motutapu to maintain island biosecurity and it is disappointing to find evidence of a threat to the pest free status of the island. A full incursion response is underway with a network of traps baited with eggs and rabbit meat set to catch the stoat.”
Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki leader Billy Brown says “The protection and enhancement of the mauri of Motutapu is of critical importance to Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki and we are working closely with DOC to ensure the island is pest-free.”
How the stoat got here is speculation but this is a timely reminder, as we come out of Covid 19 lockdown, for people going back out on the water, to ensure that all boats, yachts and kayaks are pest free when heading into the Hauraki Gulf, to maintain the pest-free status of or islands. “
DOC works in partnership with iwi, Auckland Council and community groups to protect the 47 pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Motutapu has been pest free since 2011 and provides a safe haven for threatened and at-risk native wildlife including kiwi, takahē, tūturuatu / shoreplover, tīeke / saddleback, kākāriki / red-crowned parakeet, korimako / bellbird, and shore skink.