The tiny rodents have been found on the wildlife sanctuary by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Their presence threatens some species of native insects, frogs and lizards living on the island, which normally holds predator-free status.
DOC is keen to eradicate the mice, but that won't happen until next year. DOC Sounds Conservation Services Manager Roy Grose: "To be sure of total success, we need to hold off an eradication operation until next winter, when food for mice will be scarce and they're more likely to eat the poison baits. In the meantime, we'll do all we can to limit the impact on endangered species."
DOC is most concerned about the welfare of the Maud Island frog and the Stephen's Island striped gecko - one of NZ's rarest. The lizards may need to be rehoused in an enclosure on the island, while some frogs may be moved to another island to breed a new back-up population.
Maud Island is in the Marlborough Sounds on the northern tip of the South Island. With a total area of 320 ha., it was ideal to clear pests from and establish a rodent-free environment in which to save our most endangered species. The public isn't allowed there without a permit, but DOC says the mice could have been introduced by someone docking a boat or kayak illegally.
Yeup, all it takes is one stupid brain-dead idiot thinking his little boat won't make a difference...