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Rat Trap

New Zealand to create more island sanctuaries

Forest and Bird (BirdLife in New Zealand) have welcomed a recent announcement by the New Zealand Government to create wildlife sanctuaries on two large Fiordland islands. A NZ$7M pest eradication programme will be carried out over the next eight years on Secretary and Resolution Islands.

Introduced mammal species such as rats, possums and stoats remain a major threat to New Zealand`s birds. By ridding Secretary and Resolution Islands of these invasive predators, native species such as the critically endangered Kakapo Strigops habroptilus will have a new 300 square kilometer safe haven.

Introduced mammal species such as rats, possums and stoats remain a major threat to New Zealand`s birds. By ridding Secretary and Resolution Islands of these invasive predators, native species such as the critically endangered Kakapo Strigops habroptilus will have a new 300 square kilometer safe haven.

Long term, the challenge is to restore birdlife on the mainland, but this is a bold step along the way. These two islands will add to a list of important island sanctuaries including Little Barrier, Kapiti, Maud, Whenua Hou and our sub-Antarctic islands. said Kevin Hackwell, Conservation Manager, of New Zealand conservation body Forest and BirdThe success of New Zealand`s island sanctuaries has recently been demonstrated again on Whenua Hou (Codfish) Island. Yellowheads Mohoua ochrocephala, a vulnerable species known in Maori as Mohua, are thriving on their new predator-free home. In March 2003, 39 Mohua were transferred to the island and last summer there were frequent sightings of adults feeding chicks, signalling a successful breeding season.

The Mohua was once common in South Island forests, but a dramatic decline in numbers over the last 30 years, largely because of forest clearance and predation by rats, stoats and possums, has seen them disappear from three-quarters of their former range. Now, fewer than 5,000 Mohia are thought to remain on the mainland at isolated beech forests and DOC is intensively trapping stoats and rats at two of the Mohua`s strongholds in the Hawdon and Hurunui valleys.

The Mohua was once common in South Island forests, but a dramatic decline in numbers over the last 30 years, largely because of forest clearance and predation by rats, stoats and possums, has seen them disappear from three-quarters of their former range. Now, fewer than 5,000 Mohia are thought to remain on the mainland at isolated beech forests and DOC is intensively trapping stoats and rats at two of the Mohua`s strongholds in the Hawdon and Hurunui valleys.

4th July 2014