A national response is underway following a stoat sighting on Great Barrier Island.
A Department of Conservation (DOC) team from around the country has been brought to the island after a pair of stoats were seen running across a road on Great Barrier Island earlier this month.
The unspoilt jewel of the Hauraki Gulf has never had stoats before, and DOC says it could be detrimental to the many native species that flourish on the island.
DOC Aotea/Great Barrier Island Operations Manager George Taylor said, "To have stoats on the island would be absolutely devastating. They’ve never been here, they're an apex predator - they're basically one of the few animals who kill for sport".
The joint mission with Auckland Council's been ongoing over the weekend, deploying a whole range of techniques including traps and dogs used specifically to target the creatures.
Auckland Council Incident controller Jonathan Miles believes the stoats could have been brought in by boat.
"It has to be through human travel so whether it be on a boat or on a barge, in material," Mr Miles said.
Great Barrier already has some pests, such as rats, but with a vast native bird and skink population, there's much at stake.
So far none have been found. However, if any evidence to support the sighting is found, the response will be ramped up in the coming weeks.