DOC responding to possible stoat sighting on Motuihe Island

Press Release – Department of Conservation

DOC responding to possible stoat sighting on Motuihe Island

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responding to a possible sighting of a stoat on pest-free Motuihe Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

“A member of the public has told DOC they saw, what they believe, was a stoat on pest-free Motuihe,” says DOC Auckland Inner Islands Operations Manager Keith Gell.

“We’re taking this reported sighting very seriously. We’ve launched a response to determine if there is a stoat on Motuihe,” says Keith Gell.

Since the reported stoat sighting, all the traps on Motuihe have been baited with a combination of fresh rabbit meat and eggs, which is proven to lure stoats into traps.

“Two weeks ago, we trapped and killed a stoat on Motutapu, at Islington Bay, which connects Motutapu and Rangitoto islands,” says Keith Gell.

“Since a DOC ranger found the dead stoat, during a routine biosecurity check, we’ve found no evidence of a live stoat on Motutapu or Rangitoto.”

“Motutapu is just 1.8 kilometers away from Motuihe. We’re actively working to determine if there is a live stoat on Motutapu, Rangitoto and Motuihe,” says Keith Gell.

DNA analysis, on the stoat trapped on Motutapu, has shown that it came from the Auckland mainland. The analysis was unable to identify where on the Auckland mainland it came from.

“The stoat may have hidden on a vessel that travelled to Motutapu or sailed near the island. Or it may have swum to the island,” says Keith Gell.

“Boat owners need to make sure there isn’t a stoat, rat or mouse, stowed away on their vessel, whenever they set out to sea in the Hauraki Gulf,” says Keith Gell.

Fullers and 360 Discovery, who run a ferry service to Motutapu and Rangitoto, have a pest free warrant from DOC. The warrant shows that Fullers and 360 Discovery meets DOC’s biosecurity standards for sailing to and past pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

“Day trippers and people staying at a campsite on a pest-free islands must remember that cats and dogs are not allowed on pest free-islands. They pose a major threat to threatened and at-risk native wildlife on these islands,” says Keith Gell.

“It’s also very important that people do not touch traps and other biosecurity devices on pest-free islands,” says Keith Gell.

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