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The threat of stoats

Kiwi killed by a stoat. Photo copyright: Tui de Roy. DOC use only. For permission for use outside DOC, please contact
Kiwi killed by a stoat

Stoats are implicated in the extinction of some indigenous bird species (bush wren, laughing owl, native thrush) and as the major cause of decline of many others (S.I. kokako, takahe, kaka, mohua, Hutton's shearwater, kakapo, kakariki, the Okarito kiwi and other kiwi species).

They are known predators of many other native birds and also feed heavily on reptiles and invertebrates.

Predation of young kiwi, chiefly by stoats, is currently the most important factor contributing to the continuing decline of mainland kiwi populations. Stoat numbers can be extremely low and yet can still make a substantial difference to kiwi survival and often current trapping regimes do not reduce densities sufficiently to protect young kiwi. New research will look for better ways to protect kiwi from stoats.

Stoats eat rock wrens video

This video documents the fate of rock wren nests monitored during the 2012/13 breeding season in the Upper Hollyford Valley, Fiordland. Every nest that DOC monitored this year failed, and predation by stoats was the primary cause.

Stoats and possums eat kea video

Evidence shows stoats and possums are eating kea. Researchers using nest-cameras have for the first time witnessed the gruesome reality inside defenceless kea nests invaded by stoats and possums in South Westland. Find out more about stoats eating kea.

Video by Trakabat


Find out more


C.M. King (Ed.), 2005: The Handbook of New Zealand Mammals, Second Edition. Oxford University Press.

Learn more
Information about humane kill traps.

Northland Regional Council website
Information about mustelid control.