Date: 13 March 2013
Mokoia Island houses a number of endangered species that just became a little more endangered of late. A dead rat in a trap and mouse tracks have been discovered on the island during routine monthly checks carried out by Department of Conservation (DOC) staff.
The Mokoia Island Trust Board, whom administer the island on behalf of its beneficial owners, are disappointed that again a careless island visitor has enabled the precious taonga of the island to be threatened by introduced predators.
A rat and mouse have arrived some time since the tracking tunnels and traps were last checked a month ago. While it is unclear as to how the vermin arrived on the Island, it’s most likely they hitched a ride in the bag, boat or tent of one of the many visitors to the island this summer.
The mouse incursion means lots of extra work for DOC staff, beneficial owners, volunteers and Tatou Experiences Ltd (who run tours to the island).
“We are currently responding by laying out extra traps, baits and tracking tunnels which will all need to be checked daily until we can catch the mouse and ensure that the rat was alone, restoring the Island’s pest-free status” says DOC Rotorua Biodiversity Programme Manager, Katrina Knill.
“These situations are highly avoidable if visitors take care to follow the correct quarantine procedures before heading to the island. In addition to the threat to Mokoia wildlife, these pest incursion operations are expensive and come at a cost to other planned conservation work in the region” Katrina said.
Mokoia Island has housed a number of endangered species since 1990 and has been a pest-free island since 2001. The island is home to endangered birds including kokako, kiwi, weka, toutouwai (North Island robin) and tieke (saddleback). The return of predators such as rats, mice and stoats could devastate the native bird and skink populations.
Mokoia Island Trust Board, DOC and Tatou Experiences Ltd would like to remind people that anyone wishing to visit Mokoia Island must first apply for a permit and undertake quarantine checks.
Department of Conservation
Ph: +64 7 349 8225 or +64 27 452 7335
Mokoia Island Trust Board
Bill Kingi - Secretary
Ph: + 64 7 347 6632
Tatou Experiences Ltd
Ph: +64 7 349 0976