This paper reviews the timing and spread of weasels and stoats across the South and North Islands of New Zealand during the late nineteenth century, entirely from historical records. The flavour of the debates and the assumptions that led to the commissioning of private and government shipments of these animals are best appreciated from the original documents.
Alpine zones are threatened globally by invasive species, hunting, and habitat loss caused by fire, anthropogenic development and climate change. These global threats are pertinent in New Zealand, with the least understood pressure being the potential impacts of introduced mammalian predators, the focus of this review. In New Zealand, alpine zones include an extensive suite of cold climate ecosystems covering c. 11% of the land mass. They support rich communities of indigenous invertebrates, lizards, fish, and birds.
In Britain, the use of "second-generation'' rodenticides has become widespread on agricultural premises. The high toxicity and relatively long half-lives of these compounds has raised concerns over potential secondary exposure and poisoning of non-target predators. Over the last 15 years, exposure has been extensively documented in the barn owl Tyto alba but relatively little is known about mammalian terrestrial predators.
A poison baiting operation at Trounson Kauri Park in Northland, New Zealand using first 1080 and then brodifacoum targeted possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) and rodents (Rattus rattus, Rattus norvegicus and Mus musculus). Predatory mammals were monitored by radio telemetry during the operation. All six feral cats (Felis catus), the single stoat (Mustela erminea) and the single ferret (Mustela furo) being monitored at the beginning of the operation died of secondary poisoning following the 1080 operation.
This radio-tracking study reports the daily activity rhythms in autumn and spring of 11 stoats (Mustela erminea) (9 male, 2 female), 20 ferrets (M.furo) (8 m, 12 f) and 11 feral house cats (Felis catus) (7 m, 4 f) resident on coastal grassland, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand. Activity rhythms differed markedly amongst individual stoats in autumn, but little amongst individual cats and ferrets in either season. Stoats were equally active day and night in autumn, but were more active at day than at night in spring.
Populations of ship rats (Rattus rattus), Norway rats (R. norvegicus), feral house mice (Mus musculus), stoats (Mustela erminea), weasels (M. nivalis), and ferrets (M. furo) were sampled with killtraps every three months from November 1982 to November 1987 in logged and unlogged native forest and in exotic plantations of various ages at Pureora Forest Park, central North Island. Mice (n=522 collected) were fewest in unlogged native forest, more abundant in road edge cutover forest, and most abundant in a young (5-10 year old) plantation.
Kiwi have declined markedly in abundance and range since human settlement of New Zealand. Three of the four species are still extant in mainland forests, despite decades of co-existence with various introduced mammals. Little spotted kiwi is now probably confined to offshore islands. The role of introduced mammals in these population declines was evaluated by measuring the survival rates of adults, eggs and chicks of brown kiwi (A. mantelli) and great spotted kiwi (A. haastii) in mainland forests.