Chalky Island stoat caught after eight-month campaign

5:34 pm on 24 April 2023

Stoats are a threat to endangered wildlife. Photo: 123RF

The stoat that triggered a major biosecurity campaign on a predator-free Fiordland island has been killed.

The male stoat was first identified in August last year on Chalky Island/Te Kākahu-O-Tamatea, which has been predator-free since 1999.

Department of Conservation incident controller Rebecca Teele said a full incursion response, including trained conservation dogs, trapping experts and trail cameras, was launched to protect the vulnerable wildlife on the island.

The island is home to endemic Te Kākahu skink, kākāpō, mohua, tīeke, and little spotted kiwi.

"Scat found by the dog teams had been DNA analysed, indicating only a single, male stoat was present on the island. Armed with all this information we were able to paint a picture of the incursion and respond accordingly," she said.

Chalky Island/Te Kākahu-O-Tamatea.

Chalky Island/Te Kākahu-O-Tamatea. Photo: Jake Osborne / Supplied

The stoat was found dead in a trap late last week after an eight-month effort.

"This is a huge win - but we can't take our foot off the pedal now," Teele said.

Scat on nearby Passage Island suggests another male stoat may be present.

"This is one of the highest-priority sites for biodiversity in Fiordland and it's crucial we do everything we can to protect the vulnerable species living there."

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