New Zealand Journal of Ecology (1995) 19(2): 203- 207

Diet of feral goats and feral pigs on Auckland Island, New Zealand

Research Article
C. Chimera 1
M. C. Coleman 2
J. P. Parkes 2
  1. Haleakala National Park, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768, USA
  2. Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, P.O. Box 69, Lincoln, New Zealand

The diets of feral pigs and feral goats shot on the main Auckland Island in 1989 are described from analyses of stomach and rumen contents. Feral goats ate at least 50 species of plants, but only three, Metrosideros umbellata, Chionochloa antarctica, and Durvillea antarctica made up over 50% by dried weight of the food eaten. Feral pigs ate a mixed plant and animal diet, of which plants made up 61% of the diet, with the megaherb Anisotome antipoda being the largest dietary item at 38% by dried weight. The animals eaten by pigs were mostly annelids, at 26% by dry weight of their diet, and there was little evidence of predation or scavenging on birds. Goats have subsequently been eradicated from the island, but feral pigs remain arguably a potential threat to current conservation values and certainly an impediment to any restoration of the island's natural values.