Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mana Island Unwelcome Visitor

One little rat - one big problem.
But the Department of Conservation is confident it'll be able to catch the rodent spotted on Mana Island. It was detected by live motion sensors. A DOC spokesman says there could be more than one rat, but they're sure they'll be able to get 'em all! Tracking tunnels and traps have been laid out, and a rat detection dog will be there for the next week. Once cleared, DOC will have to wait two years before the island get its pest-free status back.
Mana Island lies off the SW coast of the North Island near Kapiti Island - close enough to the coast that it's possible the rat may have swum the distance or hitched a ride on driftwood. More likely, it's arrived on a boat. (You may recall the three-month hunt for a stoat running free on neighbouring Kapiti Island earlier this year.)
In 2009, the 3km long island was selected by the Global Restoration Network as one of NZ's top 25 sites for ecological restoration. It has many native animals and plants that're rare on the mainland: Cook Strait Giant Weta, Shore Plover (only 200 remain in the wild), North Island Robin, Takahe, critically endangered Whitaker's Skink, Wellington Green Gecko, Yellow-crowned Parakeet, Brown Teal, Diving Petrels, Fairy Prions and Fluttering Shearwaters. Planned transfers include: Tuatara, Little Spotted Kiwi, a subspecies of carnivorous snail, and a range of threatened plants.
So Mr.Rattus is definitely persona non grata there!

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