Motu Kaikoura Rat Eradication Programme
by Jo Ritchie

The removal of rats has commenced. Two aerial bait drops using brodifacoum pellets (known as Pestoff 20R) were undertaken during periods of calm, fine weather in August and September. A number of people attended the drops as observers and included Maurice Ngatai, Richard Somerville-Ryan and D.o.C staff from Northland.

I would like to acknowledge Ngati Rehua’s support of the extension of the aerial baiting programme onto Opakau, Moturako, Sugar Loaf and the Grey Islands; and to the King family for allowing the same to occur on Nelson and Motuhaku Islands. I would also like to thank the Port FitzRoy mussel farmers for their support and a number of landowners on Great Barrier on whose lands the Motu Kaikoura Trust has installed bait stations, traps and tracking tunnels to prevent rats from reinvading Kaikoura.

Will Scarlett is now completing the installation of a detection and response system using bait stations, traps and tracking tunnels on Kaikoura so we have a reliable method of detecting any reinvaders and catching them quickly. Will’s knowledge of the local area is an invaluable tool.

The Motu Kaikoura Trust is in the process of installing signs at key locations on Kaikoura to let people know the island is soon to be pest free and how they can help keep it that way.

Motu Kaikoura and its surrounding islands are wonderful scenic spots as well as homes for many native species, the range and numbers of which will only increase in the absence of pests. Please help these places recover by:
• Checking your boat (including your dinghy) prior to departure—look for signs of rodents: small black droppings, eaten food, dead bodies(!). We’d appreciate if you could install a trap and maintain it.
• Not tying up or mooring at the Kaikoura wharf. By all means drop people off but then anchor a safe distance away and row ashore.
• Not running shore lines onto Kaikoura or any of the surrounding islands. One of the main ways rats get ashore is off boats and down mooring or shore lines.
• Leaving your pets at home or on the boat. Species such as sea and shore birds, brown teal and banded rail are very tempting morsels for dogs in particular.
• Taking care what you do when you are ashore. Please don’t light fires or camp on these islands and have a pack it in pack it out rubbish policy.
• Come ashore and enjoy Kaikoura but respect that the smaller islands that surround it are private property.