A large male Norway rat was caught and killed in a DOC 200 trap on Urupukapuka, one of the Project Island Song islands in the Bay of Islands, on 31 March 2014.

Date:  03 April 2014

A large male Norway rat was caught and killed in a DOC 200 trap on Urupukapuka, one of the Project Island Song islands in the Bay of Islands, on 31 March 2014.

Fleur Corbett, Guardians of the Bay of Islands' Chair says, "I saw something in a trap by the Otehei Bay woolshed and was quite shocked when I found it was a rat. The good news though is that the trap system on the islands is doing its job."

"This is the second rat seen on the islands of Ipipiri in the last two months," says Adrian Walker, Senior Conservation Services Ranger, Department of Conservation (DOC), Kerikeri. "There was no sign of the first rat, which had been flushed from an Entico Bay bush by DOC's rodent dog Tyke in February. It is possible this rat could have avoided detection or capture and was finally caught this week in Otehei Bay. Alternatively, this is a new arrival.

"With the warm weather and still seas we've had recently it wouldn't take much for this second rat to have swum from a boat or from somewhere along the eastern Bay of Islands coast.

"What the pest-free islands really need now to help stop more rats finding their way out here is some wet, cold weather."

Fleur says, "The good news coming out of catching this animal is that we are proving we can stop resident populations of pests such as rats establishing on any of the Project Island Song islands. The pest control happening on the eastern Bay of Islands mainland – Te Tangi o Te Ata, as well as boaties keeping an eye out, is working.

"Birdlife is coming back to the islands with record numbers of tui being seen and heard, particularly on Urupukapuka Island."

DOC Far North District Partnerships Ranger, Helen Ough Dealy says, "It's now everyone's chance to help the islands stay pest-free. Easter holidays are coming soon with lots of boaties keen to get out in the Bay.

"If we all stopped before leaving the mainland, checked our gear and boat for rats and mice, then we can go and enjoy these wonderful islands knowing that we have done our bit to keep them pest-free."

Background information

Project Island Song is a partnership between Guardians of the Bay of Islands Trust, Te Rawhiti hapu (Ngati Kuta and Patu Keha) and DOC.

Eradication of rats, stoats and mice on Motuarohia, Moturua, Motukiekie, Urupukapuka, Waewaetoria, Poroporo and Okahu Islands was carried out by the DOC Bay of Islands in June 2009.

You can get involved by

  • sponsoring a rat trap (used in the mainland buffer zone)
  • volunteering for the Project Island Song island weeding and planting days
  • joining Project Island Song as a member

For more information contact:

Fleur Corbett, Chair
Phone: +64 9 407 6866
Visit the Project Island Song website

If you have land on the mainland and want to find out about ways you can help restore your own land and protect the islands at the same time, contact:

John Booth (Eastern Bay of Islands Preservation Society)

The eastern Bay of Islands' mainland has its own pest-controlled buffer zone - Projects Strip, Points, Rakau and Noose and Necklace.

Established in support of Project Island Song, the Mainland Buffer Zone not only reduces the chances of reinvasion of the islands of Ipipiri by stoats and rats, but also enhances local natural biodiversity. Local people are already experiencing the benefits seeing more bellbirds and increased numbers of tui in the buffer zone area.

Related link

Project Island Song


Helen Ough Dealy
Partnerships Ranger, DOC Far North District
Phone: +64 9 403 9006 or +64 9 407 0300

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