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.
Abstract: The Department of Conservation has implemented a Biodiversity and Monitoring Reporting System (BMRS) that estimates occupancy rates and relative abundances of introduced brushtail possums (Trichosurus vulpecula) at a representative sample of sites on public conservation land. Leg-hold traps have been used to monitor possums in the BMRS, but wax tags and chew cards have logistical and financial advantages over traps.
Models were developed to examine the efficacy of immunocontraception as an alternative control method for pest rabbits. The models simulated the dynamics of rabbit populations structured by age and sex, and helped identify the benefits of an integrated pest management strategy that includes immunocontraception and lethal control. Virally vectored immunocontraception (VVIC) using a sterilising myxoma virus reduced the long-term density of rabbits. However, our models indicated that the efficacy of VVIC is much less than using lethal methods of management currently available (e.g.