Responses of stoats to scent lures in tracking tunnels

Scent lures made from the anal sac secretions of stoats (Mustela erminea) in a long-life formulation increased the number of visits by stoats to 8 km line of footprint tracking tunnels set near the shoreline of Lake Waikaremoana. 41 tunnels, 200 m apart, male and female scents alternating, checked every 3-4 weeks 4 Dec to 17 Mar, then replaced with Albert alone till 19 May. Ferric ink formulation for tracking. Gives recipe for making anal gland extract and making lures with 1% m/m extract in Albert. Total 30 records stoats in 19 tunnels, 0.94% on lure, 0.15% no lure. Power to detect difference adequate. Rats 19, mice 73. Possums disturbed 31, both with qand without lure. Lures derived from female stoats received a similar number of visits to those derived from males. Blank lures with no active ingredient did not attract stoats. Most of the lures remained intact and active for about seven weeks in summer. Rodents were unaffected by the lures, being neither repelled by the scent of stoats, nor attracted to the edible casein-based carrier compound. Our results suggest that scent lures could be useful for indexing stoat populations but must use natural product not synthetic (cf previous trial, synthetic lures didnt work). Trials are needed to compare the effectiveness of lures and bait, and to determine seasonal changes in lure attractiveness. Problems of supply of the active ingredients will need to be overcome. [References: 14] 14 Synthetic versions available but prohibitively expensive to trial (KC per comm to LR)

Author B. K. Clapperton, J. A. McLennan and A. D. Woolhouse
Year 1999
Secondary title New Zealand Journal of Zoology
Volume 26
Number 3
Pages 175-178