Invasive predator control to protect native fauna usually takes place in native habitat. We investigated the effects of predator control across 6000 ha of multi-tenure, pastoral landscape in Hawke’s Bay, North Island, New Zealand. Since 2011, low-cost predator control has been conducted using a network of kill traps for mustelids (Mustela spp.), and live trapping for feral cats (Felis catus). Although not deliberately targeted, other invasive mammals (particularly hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus) were also trapped.
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.
While invasive rats are demonstrably inimical to indigenous vertebrate species, there has not been unequivocal evidence of benefit to invertebrate communities from management of these invasive mammals in New Zealand forest systems. The present study examined the response of land snail communities to intensive management of ship and Norway rats by sampling paired rainforest blocks, one block of which had been subject to intensive management of rats, while the other block had been without management of invasive rats and thus subject to ambient rodent infestations.
The size and distribution of colonies of burrow-nesting petrels is thought to be limited partly by the availability of suitable breeding habitat and partly by predation. Historically, the availability of safe nesting habitat was restricted in New Zealand, due to the introduction of rats by humans. More recently, however, habitat has been restored by rat eradication. Petrel colony growth is mediated by both positive and negative density dependence, although it is unclear if, or how, density dependence will affect patterns in post-eradication colony recovery.
Chew-track-cards (CTCs) are potentially a cost-effective way to estimate the relative abundance of invasive rats and possums in New Zealand, but previous research suggested that their high sensitivity may limit use to low-density populations. Using a short two-night deployment period, we compared CTC indices of rat and possum abundance with a footprint tracking rate (RTR) index of rat abundance and a wax tag bite rate index (WTI) of possum abundance in 11 forest remnants that varied widely in rat and possum abundance (RTR and WTI of 0–100% over two nights).
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.
In honeydew beech forest in the South Island of New Zealand, introduced Vespula vulgaris wasps are now very abundant. Approximated biomass estimates indicate that Vespula (mostly V. vulgaris) biomass (mean estimate at peak = 3761 g ha-1, averaged over the year = 1097 g ha-1) is as great as, or greater than combined biomasses of birds (best estimate = 206 g ha-1), rodents (up to 914 g ha-1 in some years, but usually much lower) and stoats (up to 30 g ha-1). Relative V.