Date: 29 January 2013
Trapping is being stepped up on Adele Island to protect its native wildlife after a stoat was found dead in a trap on the Abel Tasman National Park island sanctuary.
A Department of Conservation stoat-tracking dog is also being brought in to search for stoats should more be on the island.
DOC Motueka Area Manager Martin Rodd said the dead stoat was found in a trap on Friday (25 January) by Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust volunteers carrying out regular predator monitoring work on the island.
‘It’s good that the trapping system on the island has done its job in catching the stoat. Extra traps especially put on Adele for such predator incursions are being set to catch stoats in case there are more.
‘Birdsong Trust volunteers had checked the island’s traps just the Friday before so the stoat has been caught in the days since then. But we don’t know how long it had been on the island before it was trapped.
‘We are sending the dead stoat to a DOC specialist to determine its sex and, if it is a female, whether it might have recently given birth. It would be concerning if it had given birth on the island as stoats can produce up to 12 kits.’
Stoats threaten the island’s increasingly abundant birdlife and lizards.
Adele Island was cleared of mice and stoats to become an island wildlife sanctuary and was confirmed predator-free in 2009.
The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, a partnership between the community, park tourist operators and DOC, maintains the trapping and predator monitoring network on Adele which is in place to catch predators that get onto the island. It also has trap lines on the park coast to prevent predators swimming to Adele, just 800 metres from the coast, and nearby predator-free Fisherman Island.
Martin Rodd said the park coast traps helped avoid stoats and rats swimming to the islands but could not stop every one.
‘We are very grateful to the Birdsong Trust for its tremendous work in maintaining the traps to protect Adele’s wildlife. We are also thankful Project Janszoon has provided the extra traps for when a predator does get onto the island.’
‘The extra traps were put in after a rat was caught in a trap on Adele last February. We don’t know how the rat got on the island and thankfully no more were found.
‘These predator incursions serve as a reminder why anyone visiting predator-free islands must ensure boats and kayaks are free of rats, mice and other pests before landing to protect these important safe havens for endangered native wildlife
- The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust was set up in 2007 to preserve and enhance the natural environment in and around Abel Tasman National Park. It raises funds for and undertakes pest control and other conservation programmes.
- Project Janszoon is a partnership between the Project Janszoon Trust and DOC which, working with the Birdsong Trust, aims to transform Abel Tasman National Park’s ecology by 2042, the park’s 100th anniversary and the 400th anniversary of Dutch explorer Abel Janszoon Tasman’s 1642 visit to New Zealand during which he anchored off the park coast. Initial funding has come from a philanthropic New Zealand family which wishes to remain anonymous.
- 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.
DOC Motueka Area Manager
Phone: +64 3 528 1810
DOC Nelson Marlborough Communications advisor
Phone: +64 3 546 3146