Is there a mouse on Auckland's pest free bird island Tiritiri Matangi?

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responding to a possible mouse sighting on pest-free Tiritiri Matangi island in the Hauraki Gulf.

Tiritiri Matangi has been free of animal pests, including mice, since 1993. It's home to a wide range of native birds including takahē, Little spotted kiwi and kokako. There are also tuatara, wetapunga and five types of native lizard on Tiritiri Matangi.

"A visitor to the island has told DOC he saw, what he believes to be a mouse, while walking on Ridge Track on Tiritiri Matangi," says DOC Auckland Inner Islands Operations Manager Keith Gell.

"A rodent detecting conservation dog and its handler investigated the possible sighting. The dog indicated to its handler, that she smelt a mouse, about 30 metres from the spot where the visitor believes he saw a mouse.

"We need to know if there is, or isn't, a mouse on Tiritiri Matangi.

"So, we're setting up a response effort to determine if a mouse has made it to the island."

He said mice ate the chicks of native birds and destroyed their eggs by puncturing the shells.

Mice also eat native lizards and native insects that provide food for native birds

"We'll also be using one of the pest detection dogs, from the Conservation Dogs Programme supported by Kiwibank, as part of this operation to determine if there is a mouse on Tiritiri Matangi," Mr Gell said.

"We're also reminding the public to be aware of the ongoing risk of an unwanted pest, like a mouse, accompanying them when they travel to a pest-free island."

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