In 2007 The Nature Conservancy (TNC) undertook an intensive ungulate control programme throughout three of its preserves on the Hawaiian islands of Maui and Moloka'i, with one aim being to reduce feral pig numbers to zero or near zero. The preserves were divided into manageable zones and over a 2 to 5 month period hunted from the ground with dogs in a series of up to four sweeps across the zones. More focussed hunting followed at sites with evidence of survivors. We used the data collected by the hunters to evaluate the efficacy of the control programme.
Productivity data on the New Zealand falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae) were collected from 87 nest sites in Kaingaroa pine plantation during three breeding seasons, 2003 to 2006. On average, 1.81 chicks were successfully fledged per nest, with young reared successfully at 71% of nests. Breeding occurred between August and March, with most eggs laid before December and most chicks fledged by February. Fifteen percent of nests were depredated, 9% contained eggs that failed to develop and 4% failed owing to forestry operations disturbing or destroying nests.
Investigations of nest predation are often limited by the researchers’ inability to identify nest predators accurately. I tested a chemical bait marker, Rhodamine B (RB), as an indicator of egg predation at artificial ground nests. In a pen trial, the presence of characteristic fluorescent bands in one or more facial vibrissae from all treatment animals confirmed the suitability of RB as a bait marker in the introduced European hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus).