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More trapping on Adele Island after stoat caught

January 30th, 2013

Trapping is being stepped up on Adele Island to protect its native wildlife after a stoat was found dead in a trap on the Abel Tasman National Park island sanctuary.

A Department of Conservation stoat tracking dog is also being brought in to search for stoats should more be on the island.

DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd said the dead stoat was found in a trap on Friday (25 January) by Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust volunteers carrying out regular predator monitoring work on the island.

'It's good that the trapping system on the island has done its job in catching the stoat. Extra traps especially put on Adele for such predator incursions are being set to catch stoats in case there are more.

'Birdsong Trust volunteers had checked the island's traps just the Friday before so the stoat has been caught in the days since then. But we don't know how long it had been on the island before it was trapped.

'We are sending the dead stoat to a DOC specialist to determine its sex and, if it is a female, whether it might have recently given birth. It would be concerning if it had given birth on the island as stoats can produce up to 12 kits.'

Stoats threaten the island's increasingly abundant birdlife and lizards. Adele Island was cleared of mice and stoats to become an island wildlife sanctuary and was confirmed predator-free in 2009.

The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, a partnership between the community, park tourist operators and DOC, maintains a predator monitoring and trapping network on Adele that is in place to detect and catch predators that get onto the island. It also has trap lines on the park coast to prevent predators swimming to Adele, just 800 metres from the coast, and nearby predator-free Fisherman Island.

Martin Rodd said the park coast traps helped avoid stoats and rats swimming to the islands but could not stop every one.

'We are very grateful to the Birdsong Trust for its tremendous work in maintaining the traps to protect Adele's wildlife. We are also thankful Project Janszoon has provided the extra traps for when a predator does get onto the island.

'The extra traps were put in after a rat was caught in a trap on Adele last February. We don't know how the rat got on the island and thankfully no more were found.

'These predator incursions serve as a reminder why anyone visiting predator-free islands must ensure boats and kayaks are free of rats, mice and other pests before landing to protect these important safe havens for endangered native wildlife.'




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