Mice eradicated on Maud Island

A Maud Island frog/pakeka (Supplied)
A Maud Island frog/pakeka (Supplied)

Te Pākeka/Maud Island wildlife sanctuary in the Malborough Sounds has been restored to predator-free status, after a Department of Conservation (DoC) operation achieved its goal to rid mice from the island.

Two years have passed since the last dead mouse was found on the island, giving DoC the confidence to declare the island mouse-free.

Mice were found on the island in the spring of 2013, and were eradicated using baits laced with rodent poison.

DoC Sounds Operations Manager David Hayes said: "It is an ongoing challenge to keep the island free from pests, including mice, rats and stoats," and improvements have been to made to biosecurity practices in the region following the find of mice on Maud Island.

The mice posed a particular threat to insect and lizard species, and potentially frogs.

Te Pākeka/Maud Island is home to a number of rare and endangered species including the unique Maud Island frogs/pakeka, Cook Strait giant weta, orange-fronted parakeets/kakariki, the Cook Strait striped gecko, and Powelliphanta hochstetteri obscura giant snails.

DoC is not aware of how mice got onto the island, but speculate that that they could have slipped through DoC's checks of people and goods going to the island, or could have come from a boat being landed - even though this is not allowed.

Te Pākeka/Maud Island is closed to access by the public, because of its importance as a native wildlife sanctuary.