An island-wide trapping system set up on Kapiti Island after the discovery of a stoat late last year has caught a second animal over the weekend.
An extensive stoat control programme was established on the island after the sighting of a stoat on Kapiti in November 2010.
The programme involves 190 traps accompanied by 480 tracking tunnels spread over the whole island. This is backed up with sweeps undertaken by specialist stoat detection dogs.
One male stoat was caught in a trap in February 2011 and a second stoat was found in a walk-through trap on the southern end of the island at the weekend.
Colin Giddy, programme manager (biodiversity threats) for the Department of Conservation’s Kapiti Wellington Area said the find reinforces the importance of the on-going control and surveillance programmes on the island.
“We’ve continued to work over the past few months on the basis that there may be more than one stoat on the island and the island-wide response we’ve set in place is targeted to deal with that eventuality.”
Mr Giddy said dog searches and staff investigations to date have revealed little sign of more stoats but the team could not rule out further stoats on the island.
“Stoats are very hard to detect and we will continue to comb the island for any signs of further animals for the foreseeable future before reassessing the situation.”
DNA tests are now underway to determine whether the latest stoat trapped is male or female and whether it is related to the male found in February. These results should be available within the next fortnight.