Kapiti pest confirmed
A stoat sighting on Kapiti Island has been confirmed after DNA, found on animal droppings and a dead bird, proved to be from the predator.
A Department of Conservation ranger reported seeing a stoat on the island on November 4, sparking an investigation by the department.
A three-week-old dead parakeet was found two weeks ago by mustelid detection dog Crete and his handler Scott Theobold.
Crete broke a leg in a fall off a bluff and a replacement dog, Koha, will be sent to the island this week, for up to a fortnight, while Crete recovers.
Wellington area threats ranger Clint Purches said the findings provided justification for increasing the trapping and searching effort.
‘‘Any new scat samples found can also be tested to see whether it is different genetic material, and therefore determine whether there is more than one stoat present on the island.’’
Kapiti Island was declared free of introduced mammals in 1998 after many years spent eradicating goats, cats, deer, sheep, cattle, pigs, dogs, possums and rats.
It is home to some of the rarest wildlife in New Zealand and one of the nation’s most important sites for bird recovery.