Rat sighting on Tuhua
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe caretaker on Tuhua (Mayor Island) and (DOC) staff have worked over the weekend to ramp up the island’s rat detection and control system, after a rat was reportedly seen.
Date: 08 March 2010
The caretaker on Tuhua (Mayor Island) and Department of Conservation (DOC) staff have worked over the weekend to ramp up the island’s rat detection and control system, after a rat was reportedly seen at Opo (South East) Bay.
“The sighting is not confirmed but we have to take it seriously”, said DOC Ranger John Heaphy. “Someone thinks they saw a rat, but it was dark, and they were not able to verify what they saw. Within 24 hours of receiving the report, we’d set up a network of traps, bait stations and tracking tunnels around the area at 25-30 metre spacings and will be monitoring them closely this week to see what turns up.”
Tuhua is managed by the Tuhua Trust Board who have been working with DOC on ecological restoration of the island. It is a wildlife refuge that boasts extensive pohutukawa forest and is full of native bird and insect life.
This is the first time a rodent has been seen on the island since it was declared pest-free in 2000. Populations of North Island brown kiwi, robin and other endangered birds, such as kakariki, and pateke, have been re-established since the island was declared rodent free. These birds are threatened by any incursion by mammal predators such as rats or mice.
Strict landing rules and quarantine procedures apply to all island visitors, who must obtain permission from the Tuhua Trust Board to land on the island.
All visitors are encouraged to check and make sure their packs and boats are pest-free before they leave the mainland. Landing is permitted only at Opo (South East) Bay and only when the caretaker is present, otherwise all landing is prohibited.