Stoat hunt underway on 'predator free' Great Barrier Island after sighting reported

A hunt is underway for stoats on Great Barrier Island after a possible sighting, Auckland Council says.

The council is now working with the Department of Conservation - including stoat-tracking dog Woody - to track down any stoats on the island as quickly as possible.

Great Barrier Island is considered to be free of predators and several species of vulnerable birds live there.

DOC Operations Manager Geoge Taylor said the department went into action as soon as they received the report.

"Getting a positive indication of stoat presence from the dog is the fastest way for us to know we have a problem and to start planning how to deal with it," Mr Taylor said.

Trail cameras, tracking tunnels and traps will now be established on the island.

Auckland Council incident controller Jonathan Miles said people need to be careful to check their vessels for pests.

"Stoats, ferrets, weasels, plague skinks and even Argentine ants rely on people to transport them to our islands, so it's up to people to make sure they are not unwittingly introducing these devastating pests by thoroughly checking their gear and vessels before they leave the mainland," he said.

Department of Conservation's biosecurity tracking dog Woody.
Department of Conservation's biosecurity tracking dog Woody. Source: Supplied