radio tracking

Testing the effectiveness of integrated pest control at protecting whio (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos) from stoat (Mustela erminea) predation in beech forest (Nothofagaceae)

The introduction of mammalian predators, particularly stoats (Mustela erminea), to New Zealand led to the decline in whio (Hymenolaimus malacorhynchos), an endemic riverine duck. Stoat control for whio in the South Island has focused on valley floor trapping along waterway margins but increasing survival and productivity for whio using this method is complicated by irruptive predator dynamics caused by occasional masting of beech species (Nothofagaceae).

Home ranges and interactions of kiore (Rattus exulans) and Norway rats (R. norvegicus) on Kapiti Island, New Zealand

Two species of rat (kiore or Pacific rat Rattus exulans and Norway rat R. norvegicus) coexisted on Kapiti Island (1965 ha) until 1996, when they were simultaneously eradicated. I radio-tracked rats of both species from June 1996 to September 1996, when the first of two aerial poison drops occurred. The aim of the study was to describe the home-range parameters of both species of rat in an area of grassland where they coexisted. Radio-tagged kiore occupied overlapping home ranges that varied from 26 to 89 m in diameter.

Summer/autumn movements, mortality rates and density of feral ferrets (Mustela furo) at a farmland site in North Canterbury, New Zealand

For two summer/autumn periods (1999, 2000), we studied the movements and survival of feral ferrets (Mustela furo L.) at a site in North Canterbury that had been previously subjected to intensive control of ferrets. Movement distances of juvenile ferrets from the place of initial to final capture were generally low (median = 1.2 km) though variable [mean = 2.5 ± 1.0(±S.E.M.), range 0.1-21.7 km]. The estimated instantaneous mortality rate of juvenile ferrets was high (mean = 0.8 per year), though imprecise (95% C.I.

Space use and denning behaviour of wild ferrets (Mustela furo) and cats (Felis catus)

We monitored the behaviour of 62 radio-collared ferrets and 25 radio-collared cats in dry, tussock grassland habitat in New Zealand's South Island. The total home range of adult male ferrets (102 ± 58 ha, mean ± 1 s.d.) was marginally greater than that of females (76 ± 48 ha), and averaged 90 ± 55 ha. Male ferret core ranges (27 ± 15 ha) were larger than those of females (16 ± 8 ha). Adult cat home ranges were similar between sexes, and were larger and more variable than those of ferrets (225 ± 209 ha). Core range size of cats was similar between sexes and averaged 54 ± 24 ha.

Ecology of the stoat in Nothofagus forest: Home range, habitat use and diet at different stages of the beech mast cycle

We studied the ecology of a high-density population of stoats in Fiordland, New Zealand, in the summer and autumn of 1990-91 following a Nothofagus seeding in 1990. Results are compared with findings from the same area in 1991-92, a period of lower stoat density. In the high-density year, minimum home ranges (revealed by radio-tracking) of four females averaged 69 ha and those of three males 93 ha; range lengths averaged 1.3 km and 2.5 km respectively. Neither difference was statistically significant.

Breeding variation in female kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) on Codfish Island in a year of low food supply

We investigated why some mature females of New Zealand’s critically endangered parrot, the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), did not attempt to breed during the 2005 breeding season on Codfish Island. At a population level, the initiation of kakapo breeding appears to correspond with years of mast fruiting of rimu (Dacrydium cupressinum) trees, with the proportion of females that breed each season dependent on the quantity of rimu fruit available.