Trap results (July 2016 – 2017)
Pest control in the Whakatāne Kiwi Project area is carried out mostly by volunteers of the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust. There are currently more than 84kms of trapping lines that cover 3000ha of kiwi habitat! Pest control is focused on mustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels), rats, possums and feral cats. More recently, the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust has also been carrying out vespula wasp control to reduce the number of wasps in the project area that compete with native birds for food and eat native invertebrates.
The biggest threat to kiwi chicks are stoats and in an area with no stoat control kiwi chicks have less than 5% chance of surviving. The ongoing pest control in the Whakatāne Kiwi Project area has enabled the kiwi population to grow from just 4 adult pairs to over 300 kiwi! Consistently low numbers of rat and possums have allowed the other native bird life to flourish as well creating a positive impact on the whole ecosystem.
Which mustelid have you trapped?
Here are some photos to help show the differences between weasels, stoats and ferrets.
Generally stoats are bigger than weasels and they have a black bushy tip on their tail, while weasels have a straight brown tail. Stoats have a straight line between the creamy white underbelly and brown back whereas weasels have a more uneven line and spots of brown under their chin, this can be remembered by thinking of straight stoats and wavy weasels. A ferret is the largest of the three and looks quite different to the smaller stoats and weasels. If you are still unsure which mustelid you have trapped send us some photos through to firstname.lastname@example.org