Could a stinky bundle of fluff improve our chances of catching stoats? We hope so! This August we begin trials of a new scent-based lure in our Coromandel Kiwi Project.
Scientists have discovered that the bedding material from captive stoat enclosures at Lincoln University is a very attractive lure to both male and female stoats year-round. “Stoats are solitary, so if they start to smell another stoat they get quite curious as to who it is. We found that if you put another stoat bedding in a trap or a monitoring device another stoat will come to investigate it quite quickly” says Zero Invasive Predators scientist Dr Elaine Murphy. Zero Invasive Predators (or ZIP) have been working on manufacturing a chemical synthetic lure but this is proving difficult. So for now, nothing beats the real thing. The bedding is harvested from the enclosures of captive stoats kept for research at Lincoln University in Christchurch, so is as rare as hens teeth.
The bedding lure has been tested in traps in the Abel Tasman with promising results. Larger field trials are now underway at Lake Rotoiti and in our very own Coromandel Kiwi Project. Our first shipment arrived in August, and we have placed the lure in every second trap so we can compare it to our regular bait. Now all we have to do is wait ….with baited breath.