Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stamping Out Stoats

A breakthrough trap is set to revolutionise stoat control in New Zealand.
Stoats (labelled "our settlers' biggest mistake") were introduced in the 1880s to control the rabbit pest (introducing the rabbit was probably their SECOND-biggest mistake!). Stoats may look cute and harmless, but they're highly efficient killing machines that've contributed to the disappearance of many native birds, killing them and devouring their eggs. It's estimated stoats kill 40 North Island brown kiwi chicks daily! 15,000 kiwi lost each year!
The advantage of the new trap, designed in Wellington, is that it self re-sets twelve times, meaning DOC staff will be able to trap twelve times as many pests, hopefully eradicating the stoat and insuring the survival of kiwi and other birds.
The trap's pioneers are working on bigger versions, for pests like possums, and have snared international interest.

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