Date: 03 October 2016
DOC has taken immediate action by resourcing a conservation dog and handler, placing additional traps, and establishing an intensive monitoring programme. Te Tapatoru ā Toi, who jointly manages the island, has been briefed and is fully supportive of DOC’s actions. Responding to incursions on pest-free islands can cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
Given that Moutohorā is a pest-free island home to several rare and threatened species, the seriousness of a predator incursion cannot be understated. Biodiversity Ranger Paul Hunter notes that decades of work has gone into re-establishing vulnerable species such as tuatara, tīeke/saddleback, kiwi, and kākāriki back onto the island. “These taonga are very susceptible to introduced predators and this incursion puts them all at risk.”
Moutohorā is 8 km off the mainland and it is illegal for the public to land on the island. The question of how a cat finds its way to the pest-free sanctuary remains unanswered.
DOC is interested in hearing from anyone who might have more information. The public can ring the DOC Whakatāne Office at +64 7 307 2770.
Only last week, TVNZ One News featured Moutohorā and its use as a sanctuary for the Whakatāne kiwi population.