The operation to catch the rat was sparked by an eagle-eyed volunteer from the Supporters of Tiritiri Matangi.
The volunteer was checking tracking tunnels on Tiritiri Matangi, on Sunday January 7, and saw rat tracks on ink pads in two of the tunnels at Hobbs Beach.
DOC confirmed the tracks were made by a rat and immediately launched a seven-day-a-week operation to catch the rat.
The rat was killed instantly in a DOC 200 trap at Hobbs Beach and found by rangers at 6 am this morning. The dead rat will be sent to Auckland for scientific analysis.
“We’re thrilled to have caught this rat as it posed a serious threat to the native birds and other native wildlife on Tiritiri Matangi,” says Acting DOC Auckland Inner Islands Operations Manager John Galilee.
Tiritiri Matangi has been free of rats and other animal pests since 1993. It’s home to a wide range of threatened native birds including takahē, kiwi pukupuku/little spotted kiwi and kōkako. There are also tuatara, wetapunga and five types of native lizard on Tiritiri Matangi.
Rats are a major threat to native wildlife. They eat eggs and chicks of native birds. They eat native lizards and weta. And they eat seeds and flowers depriving native birds of food
“Catching this rat has been a great team effort. It shows that our biosecurity systems to protect the pest free islands in the Hauraki Gulf are effective,” says John Galilee.
“The biosecurity systems are in place because there’s an ever-present risk of a rat, mouse or other pest animal making it to one of these islands.”
“We want to remind boat owners to make sure there isn’t a rat or a mouse stowed away on their vessel, whenever they’re heading out to sea in the Hauraki Gulf,” says John Galilee.
We will continue to check the tracking tunnels on Tiritiri Matangi as part of our ongoing biosecurity measures to protect the island.
On November 15, last year, a visitor to Tiritiri Matangi reported to DOC that they saw a mouse on Ridge Track. DOC launched an operation to see if there was a mouse on the island. That response has been wound down as DOC has found no evidence of a mouse on Tiritiri Matangi.