Comic: solving the rat surge puzzle

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  7. Comic: solving the rat surge puzzle

This comic is brought to you by the talented illustrator Sarah Maybe Little, explaining a study into where surging rat numbers come from during high-elevation beech masts.

High elevation beech forests are often a safe haven for our taonga species because rats are often absent higher up. Image has bush and many native animals.
A beech mast event is a year when beech forests produce a bumper crop of seed. Ship rat population explodes in this time. Image shows cartoon mice with suitcases and dancing under a rain of seeds.
So a study was set up in the hills around Lake Alabaster, Fiordland where they live trapped rats and gave them microchips or tracking collars. Image shows a live trap with a rat inside, a rat with a collar and a computer.
They found rats move up into higher areas during these beech masts. Our best defence is to target low-mid forests to stop it. Image shows a woman holding a DOC 200 trap box and a landscape of people carrying traps into the forest.