Trappers hot on the trail of an island-hopping stoat finally caught up with the crafty pest on Rangitoto.
Weighing in at 363g, the male stoat is now being tested to see if it originated on Waiheke or Auckland.
Stoat-detecting dogs will be sent out next week to confirm the absence or presence of any further stoat scent which ought to settle the question of whether this was the strong-swimming killer that had previously been spotted both on Motukorea/Browns Island and Motutapu.
Senior ranger Claire Warren, who works on Auckland’s Island Biosecurity team, says while more than 45 Hauraki Gulf islands are free of stoats, rodents, cats and other predatory animals, one island they have not been eradicated from is Waiheke.
“Stopping stoats getting to islands is key,” she said. “The eradication work that the Waiheke community is doing, as well as the control efforts of volunteers and Auckland Council at key points on the mainland, will make a huge difference.
“Over the years, much effort has gone into keeping stoats and other mammals off predator-free islands, and congratulations are due to the DOC and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki field crew who persisted in catching this stoat.” • Liza Hamilton
Full story in this week’s Gulf News…. Out Now!!!