View from Falcon Track, Chalky Island
Image: Don Merton | ©

Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


Work to stamp out predator incursions on Te Kākahu-O-Tamatea/Chalky Island and Mauīkatau/Resolution Island is top priority this summer.

Date:  20 December 2022

Field staff will be flying and sailing to and from the islands in tight rotations, and a New Zealand-wide network of staff is supporting logistics, planning, mapping, and dog handling to remove invading predators, in a response that began in winter.

A single male stoat continues to elude capture on previously predator free Chalky Island, while eleven rats have been caught so far on Resolution Island.

“We can’t afford to slow our efforts on these unique island havens that provide habitats for some of our most critically endangered species, such as kākāpō,” says DOC Southern South Island Director Aaron Fleming.

“The response to these predator incursions is bigger than DOC and involves help from government Jobs for Nature projects, RealNZ and Pure Salt. We are working together to ensure the biodiversity gains we’ve made on these islands over the years are not lost. This work is critical to protecting some of our most precious taonga.”

Eradicating the stoat and rats is proving challenging and the teams’ approach is continually being adapted to meet the changing situations on the islands, says Aaron Fleming.

“Teams of expert trappers, dog handlers and staff on the ground haven’t been able to catch all the rats on Resolution Island so a small aerial operation has been undertaken over almost 600 ha to help with the eradication effort.    

“The response has also involved creative thinking with the support team recently sourcing 500 metal tea strainers which are perfect for holding peanut butter (much loved by rats) inside the traps.  The strainers stop mice nibbling the bait.”

The stoat on Chalky Island has been seen on-camera, but so far has avoided the 100 stoat traps that have been set.

“Chalky and Resolution islands are home to some of New Zealand’s precious little spotted kiwi, Te Kākahu skink, kākāpō, Fiordland skinks, geckos and giant land snails. Protecting these vulnerable species and their ecosystems is critical and will continue to have our highest priority,” says Aaron Fleming.

Stoat prints were detected in August on Chalky Island, which had been free of stoats since 1999.

Two rats were found in traps on Resolution Island in July during a standard stoat trap check. While the island has mice and very few stoats and deer, it is free of possums, and up till now was one of New Zealand’s largest islands without rats.


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