Kapiti-Mana donates $3000 to eradicate Stoats on Kapiti Island

The importance of Kapiti Island to Forest and Bird cannot be overstated.

It was Captain Val Sanderson’s campaign to see Kapiti secured as a wildlife reserve in the early 20th century that led to the creation of the society that we know today.

Since the island became pest free in 1997 is has become a safe haven for many endangered or rare species of birds. The discovery of a stoat in October 2010 poses a serious threat to their safety. If the island’s value as a pest free sanctuary is not to be undermined, any remaining stoats must be eradicated as soon as possible. Kapiti-Mana Branch has therefore made a donation of $3000 to the Forest and Bird appeal fund to assist the Department of Conservation in this critical task.

Stoats however are very elusive and can travel large distances so it is also important, to appreciate the difficulty of the task ahead. With 1965 hectares of largely rugged terrain to cover and an elusive enemy this will not be easy.

Fortunately, examination of the three stoats caught so far suggests that one is the mother of the other two and implies that the current population may be quite small. It also provides fresh hope that the ongoing intensive D.O.C. campaign will successfully eradicate any remaining stoats before their numbers are able to significantly increase.

Such efforts however, can only be achieved with adequate funding, and whilst the $200,000, committed so far has enabled significant progress to be made, much more may be needed to complete the task. D.O.C. estimates a need for the same amount in the coming year and at least two years of stoat free observations before they are confident that the island is once again predator free.

If we value the presence of special and/or extremely rare, birds such as the, Kokako, Hihi, Tieke, North Island Black Robin, and Little Spotted Kiwi it is essential that we support the efforts being made to bring the problem to a speedy conclusion.

It is a sobering thought that stoats took only ten years to kill off the complete kakapo population on Resolution Island. It must not happen on Kapiti.