Crete in­jured in stoat hunt

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

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.

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