Predator Free Quarantine Island

This is a new project, so will be updated as progress is made

News about results are listed lower down

The problem: The Island has introduced rats (Norway) and mice. These affect biodiversity, eating seeds, insects, bird eggs and fledglings.

What we are doing:

  1. Monitoring the current biodiversity to establish baseline data before trapping (complete August 2016).

2. Using traps to reduce numbers of rats and mice  from Winter 2016. Keep numbers down.

3. Monitoring biodiversity to see the impact of trapping (ongoing from 2016).

The intended outcome: 

We will have a ‘Predator free’ island, maintained and defended from incursions, a haven for natural biodiversity in Otago Harbour!

Thanks to the DCC’s Biodiversity Fund, Otago Peninsula Community Board and the Dunedin Amenities Society for funding the traps.

Thanks also to the Otago Participatory Science Fund for a seed grant to help us work out and trial ways to monitor biodiversity with a couple of school groups, supported by scientists.

Results (most recent posts at top)

14/4/2017. Thanks to additional funding from Otago Participatory Science Fund will enable this project to continue.

We are currently working on (planning studies) on the biodiversity of birds, moths, lizards and plants. Notable birds are the rare and endangered Otago Shags. Historical counts of these birds (59 and 72 in 2000) and a bird count showing the diversity of species in 2012 will help with baseline data.

3/3/2017 Families from North East Valley assisted with monitoring using the tracking tunnels on the bush track. These are the results to date:  Tracking tunnels 2016-17 QI_KT – Sheet1DSCF6835

Can you identify which animal left these footprints?


3/3/17  Images with InfraRed (IR) camera: Rat climbing a tree near historic buildings.

The camera takes three pictures, then a 30 second video. This camera (Little LTL Acorn 5310) triggered well even though the rat is quite a small animal, and was up a tree (we did not expect that so its at the edge of the image). The camera is very sensitive (good), and first fire has a lot of IR light, whiting out the middle of the image. However the camera compensates during the video (below). We will try putting it out  again with some of the IR lights masked so as to see more in the pictures. We were advised by a scientist at the University (Zoology, Otago) that they did that with this model of  cameras and small close animals.

Rat tree 1Rat tree 2


Tracking tunnels have been placed around the island. Google Earth map created, links to photos and GPS. East and West done. North and South in progress.


10/8/2016: 26 Goodnature A24 traps have all been placed.

Previous monitoring and the importance of good labelling: We found these cards showing rat and mice prints. They are labelled ‘Nov.’ Quarantine island. But no year is given! A good reminder to us about the importance of full and accurate labelling!

Ink cards Nov