Date: 10 February 2012
Efforts are being stepped up to protect native wildlife on Adele Island after a rat was found dead in a trap on the Abel Tasman National Park island sanctuary.
The Department of Conservation is putting in more predator traps and increasing monitoring to detect rats on the island, including using a specialist tracking dog. It will also be considering with the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, what further measures should be taken to protect the island. DOC is also reminding the public of the need to ensure boats and kayaks are free of rats, mice and other pests before landing at Adele and other predator-free island wildlife sanctuaries.
DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd said the dead male rat was found in a trap on 9 February by a ranger carrying out routine trap checks on the island.
‘The rat appeared to have been dead about two days. The trapping system on the island has done its job in catching the rat.
‘We don’t know when it got onto the island but our monitoring systems showed no sign of rats when checked in mid-December. We also don’t know whether it was a single rat or whether there are others. Stepping up our monitoring to detect rats will help determine if there are others on the island.
‘Rats pose a threat to South Island robins that have been returned to the island, other birdlife, lizards, weta and other insects.
‘We can’t be sure how the rat got onto the island but it may have come from a boat or it may have even swum across from the park mainland.’
The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust carries out trapping along the park coast to help prevent predators swimming across to predator-free Adele and Fisherman islands.
DOC carried out rodent eradication on the park’s Adele, Fisherman and Tonga Islands in 2007 to pave the way for their ecological restoration and for their use as island wildlife refuges. Stoats were removed from 87-hectare Adele Island through trapping assisted by the Marahau community. The islands were confirmed predator-free in 2009. That year the Birdsong Trust and DOC began the return to Adele of species that had previously lived there, releasing South Island robins onto the island.
About the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust
The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust is a partnership between Abel Tasman tourism operators, the community and DOC. It was set up in 2007 with the aim of preserving and enhancing the natural environment in and around Abel Tasman National Park. It raises funds for and undertakes pest control and other conservation programmes.
Martin Rodd, DOC Motueka Area Manager, ph: +64 3 520 1810, or
Trish Grant, DOC Nelson Marlborough Communications Advisor, ph: +64 3 546 3146