Date: 12 November 2012
The Department of Conservation believes Kapiti Island is now stoat-free, following an extensive trapping and monitoring campaign.
This campaign has cost DOC over $600,000 and a lot of time and effort since the first sighting of a stoat in 2010. Biosecurity monitoring and response methods have been permanently upgraded, and a team of stoat detection dogs will be spending another week on the island later this month.
“Kapiti Island is one of New Zealand’s most important Nature Reserves. We now know stoats can get there, and keeping it pest-free is a top priority for us,” says DOC’s Kapiti Wellington Area Manager Rob Stone.
Most people never get an opportunity to visit nature reserves but Kapiti is relatively accessible, providing opportunity to observe birds that are either very rare or absent from the mainland. Kapiti Island is home to rare native birds including stitchbird, kokako, takahe, brown teal, and saddleback. The little spotted kiwi thrives on Kapiti Island but is now extinct on the mainland.
DOC is in the process of making Kapiti even more accessible, by working with new concessions to offer more streamlined, one-stop-shop packages for visitors, and increasing the number of people permitted to the island. Looking out 5 years DOC is also developing plans which will review and improve visitor facilities, including establishing new tracks and boardwalks, and a better sewerage management system.
"We want visitors to have a world class tourism experience on the island, where they can see fully-protected endangered species and hear fascinating stories in a stunning location,” says Mr Stone.
Mr Stone says DOC is looking forward to working closely with iwi in the protection and management of the island.
DOC is engaging with Kapiti Coast District Council, iwi and businesses on a ‘departure lounge’ concept to further improve biosecurity and add to the visitor experience. DOC has also signed a three year sponsorship partnership with OMV, an international energy resource company, which will fund Kapiti Island’s biosecurity and stoat trapping programme.