Age structure, dispersion and diet of a population of stoats (Mustela erminea) in southern Fiordland during the decline phase of the beechmast cycle

The dispersion, age structure and diet of stoats (Mustela erminea) in beech forest in the Borland and Grebe Valleys, Fiordland National Park, were examined during December and January 2000/01, 20 months after a heavy seed-fall in 1999. Thirty trap stations were set along a 38-km transect through almost continuous beech forest, at least I kin apart. Mice were very scarce (<1 capture per 100 trap nights, C/100TN) along two standard index lines placed at either end of the transect, compared with November 1999 (>60/100TN), but mice were detected (from footprints in stoat tunnels) along an 8 km central section of the transect (stations 14-22). Live trapping with one trap per station (total 317.5 trap nights) in December 2000 caught 2 female and 23 male stoats, of which 10 (including both females) were radio collared. The minimum range lengths of the two females along the transect represented by the trap line were 2.2 and 6.0 km; those of eight radiotracked males averaged 2.9 +/- 1.7 km. Stations 14-22 tended to be visited more often, by more marked individual stoats, than the other 21 stations.

Author D. C. Purdey, C. M. King and B. Lawrence
Year 2004
Secondary title New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Volume 31
Number 3
Pages 205-225
Region NZ