invasive species

Predator control to protect a native bird (North Island kōkako) also benefits Hochstetter’s frog

Control of introduced predators is part of the management strategy for many conservation programs. However, when such programs are designed to protect a single species, the benefits to sympatric native species are usually not assessed. We used site occupancy modelling to investigate whether predator control implemented to protect a native bird species (North Island kōkako) in the Hūnua Ranges, New Zealand also benefits the sympatric native Hochstetter’s frog population.

The next frontier: assessing the feasibility of eradicating mammalian pests from Auckland Island

Auckland Island, the fifth largest island in New Zealand, is the only island in New Zealand’s subantarctic region where introduced mammalian pests remain (pigs, Sus scrofa; mice, Mus musculus; cats, Felis catus). The island has unique biodiversity and is a key site for progressing New Zealand’s goal to be free of several introduced predators by 2050. Recent island eradication successes have rekindled interest in eradicating pests from Auckland Island, and for the first time considering all three pests in one project.

How low can you sow? House mouse eradication on Motuareronui/Adele Island

House mice (Mus musculus) are highly invasive mammals and can cause extensive ecosystem damage on islands where they are the sole mammalian pest species. Capability to eradicate mice has improved in recent years. Mouse eradication has been achieved on large islands where mice cohabit with other rodents and islands where mice are the sole mammalian pest. As the islands targeted for eradication become larger and more challenging, reduced toxic cereal bait application rates can reduce both complexity and cost, and ultimately make currently unachievable operations feasible.

Field palatability and degradation of a selection of feral cat bait matrices on Auckland Island

Primary poisoning is an important method to ensure the successful eradication of cats (Felis catus) from large islands. Poison bait options for feral cat eradications and landscape-scale control in New Zealand are limited at present. As part of the development of a toxic bait for cats that can be aerially distributed, a nontoxic palatability trial was undertaken on Auckland Island to compare three types of prototype meat-based bait and one currently registered fishmeal polymer pellet for their palatability to feral cats and non-target species.

Monitoring and detection of feral cats on Auckland Island

In order to conserve important biodiversity values, eradication of feral cats (Felis catus) is planned on Auckland Island in the New Zealand subantarctic region. This eradication will require detailed knowledge of the abundance, distribution, movement behaviour and detection probability of cats on the island. We investigated these parameters on a peninsula at the northern end of the island using live trapping, camera trapping, and scat searches with and without detection dogs. Here, we compare the results of these methods, and discuss their utility for the planned eradication.

Analysis of spatiotemporal patterns of home range use and habitat selection to inform management of feral pigs on Auckland Island

Feral pigs (Sus scrofa) were introduced to Auckland Island in subantarctic New Zealand in 1807. They established and became invasive, subsequently causing substantial unwanted impacts on native biodiversity. Understanding pig movement behaviour and habitat selection can lead to focused, efficient, and effective management efforts, especially during initial knockdown of the population. Here we used location data from ARGOS telemetry collars deployed on 15 Auckland Island pigs from 2007 to 2008 to estimate seasonal homerange sizes and habitat selection.

Evaluating the effectiveness of a feral cat control operation using camera traps

Feral cats (Felis catus) have a negative impact on native biodiversity in New Zealand. As such, their populations require careful management and monitoring of the effectiveness of these management operations. We used camera traps to assess (1) effectiveness of an intensive cat control operation, and (2) the level of reinvasion six months later. Cat abundance was estimated on a pastoral property in Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand, subject to cat control using trapping and shooting.

Factors affecting home range size of feral cats: a meta-analysis

Managing invasive species requires knowledge of their ecology, including distribution, habitat use, and home range. In particular, understanding how biotic and abiotic factors influence home range can help with pest management decision-making, as well as informing native species management. Feral cats, self-sustaining cat populations that live independently of people, have caused numerous extinctions and continue to adversely affect native species globally.

Future climates are predicted to alter the potential distributions of non-native conifer species in New Zealand

Non-native conifers constitute a significant threat to the ecology and biodiversity of many of New Zealand’s native ecosystems and species. From the top down, the potential distributions of non-native conifer species are governed by climate suitability, which alongside variables such as the availability of suitable habitats and a source of propagules determines whether an area of land will be susceptible to invasion by a given species.

Current knowledge and potential impacts of climate change on New Zealand’s biological heritage

While global climate change is impacting biota across the world, New Zealand’s maritime climate is highly variable and relatively mild, so climate change is sometimes seen as a minimal threat to species and ecosystems especially in comparison to the more immediate threat of invasive species. However, climate change will alter rainfall patterns, increase the incidence and severity of extreme events, and gradually increase temperatures which will all modify terrestrial, freshwater, and marine systems.