Week 5

This week I am back at UNITEC and the students have arrived! It's a very busy place. I am joining in on some lectures and on Wednesday I will be going on a day trip to Tiritirimatangi - watch this space for feedback on this trip! 

Wow Tiritiri Matangi is a wonderful place! Did you know it is a pest free island? The Department Of Conservation (DOC), Scientists and many volunteers have worked very hard to make this a sanctuary for the native fauna and flora of New Zealand. Being pest free means that there are no rats, mice, ferrets, stoats, cats, dogs, goats - basically no introduced mammals. You have to be very careful when you visit the island that you do not accidentally bring any of these animals with you. The staff ask you to check your bags, just in case a mouse sneakily crept into your lunchbox! 


As the island is pest free there are no traps, however this pest free status needs to be monitored carefully, just in case any pest animals accidentally arrive! Pictured above is a tracking tunnel. There are many of these tunnels all over the island, and the scientists and volunteers use these to inform them of any ground based animals running around. But, how does this work? Well, inside the tunnel there is a little ink pad. On either side of the ink pad there is a piece of white card. When an animal runs into the tunnel, it runs over the white card, onto the ink pad, and then continues on to the next piece of white card at the other end of the tunnel. And what is on the little animal's feet? That's right, ink! So when scientists come to check the tunnel there are little colourful footprints. The scientists need to identify the footprints and which animal they belong to, so they can tell which animals are on the island. The tunnel above did have footprints, but don't worry, they were the footprints of a ground weta, which won't harm any of the birds. But if the scientists found footprints from a rat, or a mouse, or a stoat, what do you think they might have to do?

YouTube Video

Here is a video clip of a Saddleback on Tiritiri Matangi.