Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island

There are over 400 plant and animal species on Auckland Island (46,000 ha) that are restricted to the New Zealand subantarctic region and more than 100 species of endemic flora and fauna. 

Unfortunately it also has populations of feral pigs, cats and mice that have inflicted severe ecological damage over the past 150–200 years. After more than 25 years of conservation effort, it is the last island in the New Zealand subantarctic region where mammalian predators remain.

Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island is a partnership between DOC and Ngāi Tahu, tangata whenua of Motu Maha, which aims to remove these pests fromthe island. This is a significant project for Predator Free 2050 and success would complete a pest-free New Zealand Subantarctic. 

Project feasibility trials are now completed and the results are promising. With a combination of technological innovation and hard work it seems possible that all three pests can be removed from the island. DOC and Ngāi Tahu are now seeking funding to move the project into the operational phase. In the meantime the team are working on developing the tools they need including; new cat baits, advances to thermal cameras, and modification to helicopter bait buckets.

Find out more about the Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island website.

A fieldworker sits amongst native grass land with a tracking tunnel and equipment on the Auckland Islands
Setting up tracking tunnels to measure mice density as part of the research. Image credit: Lindsay Chan.