A video camera, set up by the Motuihe Trust to monitor kiwi pukupuku/little spotted kiwi on Motuihe, has filmed a rat on the island.
“Looking at the video there’s no doubt there’s a rat on pest-free Motuihe,” says DOC Auckland Inner Islands Operations Manager Scott Antcliff.
“We’ve set up traps, tracking tunnels and ‘rat motels’ in the area the rat was filmed.”
The traps, tunnels and ‘rat motels’ are baited with high quality peanut butter, fresh eggs, rabbit meat and ‘rat bedding’ from pet shops. These are all proven to attract rats.
“The tracking tunnels have ink pads to record a rat’s tracks.They’ll help us keep track of the rat and also get it used to entering a trap-like device,” says Scott Antcliff.
“We’ve used tunnels, traps and ‘rat motels’ to catch rats on other pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.”
Rats eat the eggs and chicks of native birds as well as native lizards and weta. They also eat seeds and flowers, depriving native wildlife of food.
Motuihe has been free of rats, mice and other introduced pests since 2005. The island provides a safe haven for threatened and at-risk native wildlife including kiwi pukupuku/little spotted kiwi, tīeke/saddleback, kākāriki/red-crowned parakeet, korimako/bellbird, tuatara and shore skink.
The ground nesting tīeke and tuatara are particularly vulnerable to rats. Adult kiwi pukupuku/little spotted kiwi are able to fight off a rat.
DOC works in partnership with Auckland Council to protect pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
“There’s always a risk of a rat or other pest making it to a pest-free island,” says Scott Antcliff.
“We’ve set up a response team and activated a plan to catch the rat as part of our biosecurity measures to protect these islands.”
“We’re also reminding people to ensure their boats, yachts and kayaks are not carrying a rat or mouse when they sail to Motuihe or other pest-free islands in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.”