Home range of stoats (Mustela erminea) in podocarp forest, South Westland, New Zealand: implications for a control strategy

The home range of stoats (Mustela erminea) was determined as part of a programme to protect Okarito brown kiwi chicks (Apteryx australis) ‘Okarito’, from predation. Twenty-seven stoats were fitted with radio-transmitters and tracked in two podocarp (Podocarpaceae) forests, in south Westland, New Zealand, from July 1997 to May 1998. Home-range area was determined for 19 animals by minimum convex polygons and restricted-edge polygons, and core areas were determined by hierarchical cluster analysis. The mean home ranges of males across all seasons calculated by minimum convex polygon (210 +/- 28 ha (+/- s.e.)) and restricted-edge polygon (176 +/- 29 ha) were significantly larger than those of females across all seasons (89 +/- 14 ha and 82 +/- 12 ha). The mean home range of males calculated by minimum convex polygon during the breeding season (256 +/- 38 ha) was significantly larger than the mean home range pooled across the non-breeding seasons (149 +/- 16 ha), whereas that calculated by restricted-edge polygon was not significantly different. The mean home range of females during the breeding season was not significantly different from that in the non-breeding seasons when estimated by either method. Overlap of home ranges was observed within and between sexes in all seasons, with the greatest proportion of home range overlap being male-female. The mean home range of females in spring and summer is used to guide the spacing of control stations.

Author C. Miller, M. Elliot and N. Alterio
Year 2001
Secondary title Wildlife Research
Volume 28
Pages 165-172
Region NZ