Baits and traps have been deployed to catch a stoat on one of Auckland's pest-free islands after footprints were found on Wednesday.
Motutapu Island, which is in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, has been pest-free since 2011 and provides a safe haven for many threatened and at-risk native wildlife, including kiwi, takahē, tūturuatu/shoreplover, kākāriki/red-crowned parakeet, korimako/bellbird, and shore skink.
This alert came after a stoat was confirmed on Motukorea / Browns Island a few weeks back.
Operations manager at the Department of Conservation (DOC) Katharine Lane said the department and Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki had been working through the lockdown on Motutapu to maintain island biosecurity and it was disappointing to find evidence of a threat to the pest-free status of the island.
"A full incursion response is under way with a network of traps baited with eggs and rabbit meat set to catch the stoat," she said.
Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki leader Billy Brown said the protection and enhancement of the mauri (special nature) of Motutapu was of critical importance to Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki.
"We are working closely with DOC to ensure the island is pest-free," he said.
It's not yet known how the stoat got there but people are reminded to ensure their boats, yachts and kayaks are pest-free when they go back out on the water coming out of the Covid-19 lockdown.