DOC tracking tunnel guide v2.5.2: using tracking tunnels to monitor rodents and mustelids

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Conservation managers and researchers at mainland sites throughout New Zealand now commonly use tracking tunnels as a method of indexing rodent and mustelid abundance.

In 1997 we wrote a guide (DOC tracking tunnel guide version 1) as a direct response to repeated requests by DOC staff for some basic guidelines on how to use tracking tunnels. However, there were several important issues that needed to be resolved with the technique, particularly for monitoring
mustelids. These issues were investigated as part of DOC Science and Research Unit investigation 3275; the fieldwork for that project was completed in June 2002. This guide was written as an update for the original version based upon what we learned during the course of that investigation.

This guide describes a technique for monitoring rodent and mustelid activity. This document updates the original method described in ‘DOC tracking tunnel guide v.2.5.1’ (olddm-118330) with minor improvements and modifications. We recommend users also read an overview of this method
in ‘Animal pests: tracking tunnel indices of small mammal abundance’—docdm-322684.