An overview of rodent control to protect biodiversity on mainland New Zealand

NZ has some of the world’s longest lists of human induced extinctions and threatened species due to habitat loss and a range of invasive pests. We consider mainland NZ as the two largest islands ‘North’ & ‘South’ where three rats and one mouse species exist. Rodents are ubiquitous in most mainland habitats with ship rats (Rattus rattus) and mice (Mus musculus) most important today. Other species (R. norvegicus, R. exulans) were historically significant in their impact and continue to be dominant on some smaller islands where one or more species are absent. Complex and dynamic predator-prey relationships exist and the full impact of rodent introductions is yet to come.

Mainland rodent control strategies usually set management targets of low ship rat densities over bird breeding seasons and must be integrated with other pest control. Recently we have accepted the new challenge of managing the impacts of episodic irruptions of rodents threatening critically endangered planned and supported programs has drastically improved the status of some threatened species and increased bird populations generally at those sites. Many challenges exist to sustaining these successes, increasing the scale, and providing year-round protection to more vulnerable fauna. Some novel strategies are emerging to meet these challenges as well as continued refinement of existing techniques and research to grow our understanding of the issues.

Author Broome, K.
Date 2004-10-19
Year 2004
Secondary title 2nd National Invasive Rodent Summit
Place published Fort Collins
Publisher National Wildlife Research Centre
Pages 2
Region NZ