18 May 2021

Rāhui placed on Motutapu Island as stoats search intensifies

1:31 pm on 18 May 2021

The hunt is on for two remaining stoats causing havoc on Motutapu Island.

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Photo: supplied

There are currently 460 traps set across the pest-free sanctuary and a further 150 are to be deployed in efforts to deal with the predators.

The island has suffered four stoat invasions in one year, with evidence suggesting the stoats swam there.

The presence of stoats was first detected on both Motutapu and Rangitoto islands in May 2020. Since then, two stoats had been trapped - one in September last year and another in January.

DOC incursion response advisor Claire Warren said cam trails and stoat detection dogs were used every two-to-three months to track pest movements on the islands.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki are now focused on trapping the two remaining stoats.

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki has announced today a 30-day rāhui will be placed on Motutapu to aid efforts.

The rāhui does not affect Fullers ferry services to Rangitoto, but access to Motutapu will be restricted.

Motutapu Island is having a tough run with four stoat invasions in one year.

Motutapu Island is having a tough run with four stoat invasions in one year. Photo: Lotte Van Den Hout

"We are asking people to take note of iwi rāhui and not to visit Motutapu while our first priority is catching the remaining stoats," Warren said.

"Also, stoats can swim long distances and trapping on the mainland will help reduce the chances of them getting to these predator free islands."

Head of natural environment for Auckland Council, Phil Brown, said the impact on native wildlife from this pest species was devastating.

"Chasing down single stoats in otherwise stoat-free areas is a challenge. Auckland Council have been grappling with this in our parks and we take our protection responsibilities seriously. We are constantly strengthening our pest trapping activities to prevent reinvasion.

"It's fantastic to see so many people in the community controlling pests on their land and helping us on our parklands. It's those efforts that really help protect our biodiversity."

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