Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tricky Dicky's Run Finally Ends

Cute, but a killer.
NZ Dept of Conservation (DOC) this week finally caught an elusive stoat threatening native wildlife on Kapiti Island (off the SW coast of the North Island).
This lil' ratbag was spotted last November, sparking a full-on 3mth $30,000 trapping and monitoring programme, with 160 traps set. Some lateral "boy" thinking was used to catch this one: assuming it was a male, bedding material reeking of female stoat scent was used as a lure!
Kapiti Island was declared free of introduced mammals in 1998 after many years of eradication. It's now home to some of NZ's rarest wildlife and is an important native bird recovery site.
Now some may think: 30-grand just to catch one liddle iddle stoat!!! But it's vital these vicious killers are wiped out, especially on predator-free islands like Kapiti. Stoats are blamed for the extinction of some native bird species (bush wren, laughing owl, native thrush) and as the major cause of decline of many others (Sth.Island kokako, takahe, kaka, mohua, Hutton's shearwater, kakapo, kakariki, and kiwi).
Although the island is about 5km from the mainland, stoats have been known to swim at least 3km (or it may have hitched a ride on floating driftwood), so DOC's not jumping to conclusions that this is the only stoat on the island...but is hoping for the best.
PS: 21 July 2011 - Another stoat has been found on Kapiti! Damn!

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