Crete injured in stoat hunt
A dog sent to sniff out a possible stoat on Kapiti Island has broken its leg, but not before picking up some clues a predator could be on the island.
Crete, the specialist mustelid detection dog, was sent to Kapiti Island on November 23 with handler Scott Theobald to help verify the presence of a stoat spotted by a Department of Conservation contractor earlier this month.
‘‘Kapiti Island has some fairly rugged country and unfortunately Crete took a fall over one of the bluffs on the island,’’ Rob Stone, Department of Conservation Kapiti Wellington area manager, said.
‘‘It’s a bad break and it’s going to take some time to get right.’’
The dog led Mr Theobald to ‘‘scat’’, faecal matter that may have been from a mustelid, south of Rangitira Point.
‘‘We have sent the faecal matter away for DNA analysis to get confirmation or otherwise that it is from a stoat.’’
A dead kakariki was found near the scat and the body has been sent for analysis.
Mr Stone said the findings brought mixed feelings, ‘‘ bad news in that we didn’t want to find a stoat over there’’, but it confirmed DOC’s decision to spend further resources looking for the stoat.
Previously biosecurity for the island had focused on rats and mice because it was not thought a stoat could make it to the island. However, DOC is now looking at more traps and tracking tunnels designed for mustelids.