Weasel with egg
By the mid 1870s, rabbits were becoming a serious agricultural pest in New Zealand. Farmers demanded that the natural enemies of the rabbit (mustelids) be introduced. Despite the protests of bird experts, ferrets, stoats and weasels were released throughout pastoral areas and by the mid 1890s they had spread into forests west of Lake Manapouri.
Far too late, after many official protests, the government changed its policy on mustelids in 1903. However, it was not until 1936 that all legal protection for mustelids was removed.
Did you know weasels were introduced to help rid NZ of rabbits in the 1870s? Learn more about this mustelid in this section.
Weasels negatively impact New Zealand's native lizards, invertebrates and birds.
Find out about the predator control work that DOC is carrying out around the country.
Learn about weasel control methods and find out how you can be involved in reducing introduced predators in your area.
Phone 0800 DOC HOTline (0800 362 468) 24 hour emergency number to report:
Sick or injured wildlifeWhale or dolphin strandings