The frequently asked questions (FAQs) are currently being compiled.
If you have a question you would like answered please get in contact with us.
What is our dog policy and how will it be achieved?
We have prepared a dog management plan to provide guidance to the Arapaoa Island residents around dog ownership and control to ensure we all have an understanding and knowledge of the risks to kiwi and other wildlife on the island. We will provide up-to-date information and training regularly to increase awareness of responsible dog ownership so that kiwi can be safe, thrive and live together with our dogs on Arapaoa Island.
Why are stoats being targeted?
DOC describes stoats as ‘public enemy number one’ for Aotearoa’s native birds. They are relentless hunters and have a significant effect on species. Another major challenge with stoats is their rapid breeding. A mother stoat can have up to 12 kits at a time, but usually has 4-6 babies. A female stoat can get pregnant when she is still a blind, deaf, toothless and naked baby – at only 2-3 weeks old. Even though she is pregnant, her kits won’t grow inside her until she is an adult. They will be born the following spring.
Stoats have a large home range (greater than 100ha), so traps can be widely spaced – we will be working at a trap density of 1 trap every 5-7ha.
Why are we not targeting Rats as they are also on the Predator Free 2050 list?
It would be great to also get rid of the rats and mice along with the stoats. We will catch a lot of rats in our traps, but they are unlikely to make much of a dent in the rat population. The problem is all about the home range of the rats and mice.
Rats have a home range of up to 2ha – so for effective trapping you would need a grid with a trap every 50m. This would be totally uneconomic and impractical.
Mice have an even smaller range, for example, at Kaipupu Wildlife Sanctuary they have mouse traps every 25m.
The only effective rat control so far is toxins – usually delivered by aerially broadcast when working with large areas. This would have a side effect of killing all the stoats, as they will eat the poisoned rats. However, the bait often used is called 1080 which is such a controversial topic and we know that a number of landowners do not want anything to do with this. Therefore 1080 aerial broadcast is not considered in the Arapaoa Kiwi project.
There is research on alternate methods for large scale control of rats. One is broadcasting traps like badminton shuttlecocks, preloaded with bait. The rat puts its head in, the trap is triggered and a rubber band like device (think docking ring) chokes the rat. Others are investigating toxins like tutu, some looking at genetic solutions, and some contraceptive ideas.
So targeting of rats and mice is not on our Kaupapa. If the right technology comes along, then maybe.
Are we targeting feral cats?
With our trail camera monitoring it has become very obvious that feral cats are a major problem on Arapaoa Island. Our cameras are seeing about 10 times the encounters with cats as stoats. That doesn’t mean there are 10 times as many cats, just that we see them ten times as often. We are also seeing the cats roam over a large area – we are seeing the same cats on different cameras one or two kilometres apart in different bays. We are now targeting feral cats. But it is extremely difficult as cats are very wary, and we don’t want to accidentally capture a domestic cat. We also have to be very careful not to capture wekas in any of the traps.
Why are we not targeting goats, deer, pigs and other non native mammals?
Our aim is to reduce the predation on the birds by predators and create the environment where some species will return themselves or were we can introduce them. Hence concentrating on stoats. A number of landowners are happy with deer, goats and pigs – hunting them or having them around is part of their lifestyle. We have pledged not to trap or hunt any other wildlife while we are trapping stoats. Other conservation organisations are looking at the pigs and goats on the island, but not us. We are happy to work along side them putting in our stoat traps while they are working on their animals.