DOC pest control teams have caught a stoat on Kapiti Island.
The successful capture comes after an intensive three month trapping campaign following last year's sighting of a stoat on the island sanctuary, off the west coast of the southern North Island.
“We don’t want to jump to conclusions that this is the only animal we are dealing with but we are naturally hoping for the best with this find” said Clint Purches, the DOC ranger in charge of the stoat operation.
Clint Purches said DOC would continue with intensive trapping and monitoring programmes and it could take months before the presence of further stoats can be ruled out.
Hamish Farrell with the dead stoat he
found on Kapiti Island
The stoat was found by DOC contractor Hamish Farrell in one of 160 traps strategically placed around the island in recent months.
The animal is decomposed, and DNA tests will be carried out to determine its gender.
Mr Purches noted that DOC staff had used some lateral thinking to lure the stoat to the trap.
“Because of the abundance of food on the island we thought we’d try something a little different”.
With no juvenile stoats detected on the island (which are usually easier to spot and trap than adults) and working on the assumption that the stoat was a male, bedding material from a female stoat was brought in and used to bait some of the traps – which led to the capture.
Mr Purches noted that stoat detection dogs would be taken to the island again in late February and that monitoring and trapping work would continue in to the foreseeable future.