Kapiti stoat finally found
Department of Conservation pest control teams have caught a stoat on Kapiti Island.
The capture comes after an intensive three-month trapping campaign following the sighting of a stoat on the island sanctuary late last year.
‘‘We don’t want to jump to conclusions that this is the only animal we are dealing with, but we are naturally hoping for the best with this find,’’ said Clint Purches, the DOC ranger in charge of the stoat operation.
He said DOC would continue with intensive trapping and monitoring programmes and it could take months before the presence of further stoats could be ruled out.
The stoat was found by DOC contractor Hamish Farrell in one of 160 traps strategically placed around the island in recent months.
The animal’s body was decomposed, and DOC says DNA tests will be necessary to determine its gender.
Mr Purches said DOC staff had used lateral thinking to lure the stoat to the trap.
With no juvenile stoats detected on the island – which are usually easier to spot and trap than adults – and working on the assumption that the stoat was a male, bedding material from a female stoat was brought in and used to bait some of the traps.
Mr Purches said stoat detection dogs would be taken to the island again in late February, and monitoring and trapping work would continue in to the foreseeable future.