Relief as rogue weasel loose in Zealandia is trapped

Relief as rogue weasel loose in Zealandia is trapped
Photo credit: Getty

A weasel on the loose in Wellington ecosanctuary Zealandia has been trapped and found by a Zealandia ranger.

Zealandia Conservation and Research Manager Dr Danielle Shanahan told Newshub she is "relieved all the beautiful wildlife is safe."

The conservation team was having a party to celebrate the capture, which Dr Shanahan described as "very fast."

Dr Shanahan believed the risk of it having preyed on other wildlife was low, but said its stomach contents would be analysed to find out exactly what it had been eating.

The weasel was detected on October 1, and traps were laid soon after, but they were not set live until Tuesday this week.

"The animals need time to trust the baited trap as a source of food," Dr Shanahan explained.

"After the traps go live, we can't go near them for a couple of days. We just checked them today and to get it this fast was awesome," she said.

Dr Shanahan confirmed the weasel was killed by the trap but said that it was "very quick" and done in "the most humane way."

The weasel was the first mustelid (animal of the weasel, stoat and ferret family) to enter the sanctuary in more than a decade.

Dr Shanahan is confident it was a one-off incident.

"There have been two thorough searches of the grounds, and we also do a weekly search," she said.

"We'll keep checking, but we're pretty confident it didn't get in through the fence so we're looking at other possibilities now such as it getting in through the gate."

Asked whether there was more Zealandia could do to avoid a repeat occurrence, Dr Shanahan said the team is doing its best.

"We will make sure we're staying on top of the game and we'll continue to review our policies and procedures to ensure they are the best they can be."