Wellington Scoop

They’ve caught Zealandia’s weasel


News from Zealandia
Zealandia has successfully trapped a weasel discovered within the protected wildlife sanctuary last week. The female weasel was found in a DOC200 trap today by a Zealandia Ranger, at the southern end of the sanctuary where the animal was first detected.

Conservation and Research Manager Dr Danielle Shanahan was delighted with the result.

“I’m really proud of our team here, and the wide range of partners who have supported us. We’ve managed to detect and respond to this really quickly, dramatically reducing the risk to our wildlife,” said Shanahan.

However she was quick to add that it’s not all over yet.

“We’ll continue to monitor things closely, keeping traps, camera traps and tracking tunnels out there until we’re convinced that it was just the one animal.”

The weasel’s footprints were first discovered on Monday, 1st October, launching a sanctuary-wide incursion response. Around 110 DOC200 traps were set in the urban wildlife sanctuary, baited with rabbit meat and eggs. Camera traps were also set, capturing the weasel on video three times at the same location.

It is still unknown exactly how the weasel entered the sanctuary, and staff will continue to thoroughly check the 8.6km predator fence.


  1. Barbs, 14. October 2018, 14:04

    She looks so sweet. Poor thing. I think she should be stuffed. I bet she hadn’t killed anything. Humans are such bullies.

  2. Andy Mellon, 14. October 2018, 17:34

    For crying out loud. “I bet she hadn’t killed anything”. Well, then she’d have starved to death. They’re carnivores; killing things is how they survive. With the lack of small mammals to eat in Zealandia, the diet would have mainly been small birds and invertebrates. Do you want its stomach remnants tested before it’s stuffed?

  3. Mel G., 14. October 2018, 18:28

    Given the size of the tiny weasel, I doubt it could have eaten more than a sparrow in a few weeks! Probably would have starved to death anyway given the lack of mice to kill in Zealandia. Highlights the problem of fortresses – you can’t get out once you’ve got in!

  4. Andrew, 14. October 2018, 19:50

    Size has little to do with it. They eat around a third of their body weight a day and can kill prey much larger than themselves (rabbit size…)

  5. Harry M, 15. October 2018, 6:54

    Humans are quite obviously the predators.

  6. Heidi P, 15. October 2018, 6:57

    I find the mindset that is visible in the PR a bit creepy. For a cat to drag a dead bird into your bed to show it off its normal, but for humans it’s dysfunctional.
    I hear the govt are now killing native gulls, they don’t even use the word Kill instead they say they are “controlling” them. It’s part of the war on nature.

  7. Eddy M, 15. October 2018, 12:41

    Yes Heidi – DOC’s hatred of small furry mammals seems to me to have the odour of a Maoist edict. The incitement to kill small mammals may well have wider ramifications for human behaviour in NZ which already has too much violence.

  8. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 15. October 2018, 13:50

    We appreciate the sanctuary is no place for a weasel to be and something had to be done about it, though we did note one report suggesting the weasel may have gained entry by being picked up by a falcon then dropped. The falcons we have here are karearea and they are a native species reintroduced to Wellington by none other than Zealandia. All of this goes to show that managing an ecosystem is way more complicated than it may appear when viewed on paper through a set of green tinted spectacles.

    To Heidi P we concur regarding creepiness, the whole idea of Predator Free is very creepy indeed. St Francis of Assisi put it like this: “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men”.

    Regarding mention of Cats bringing birds in: We have a few Cats and a garden full of birds and both skink and gecko lizards. Not once have we had one of our Cats bring us a bird or a lizard, it’s rats and mice who are on the Feline menu here. Last weekend’s score amounts to four rats, and three mice which we figure is as good a score as any household engaged in ‘community trapping’ efforts.

    I have not heard of native gulls being targeted by the government, more information on this would be welcomed. However, pukeko are already up for the chop and we found a photo of Auckland Council’s three grinning executioners to be as you say, rather creepy. The prospect of killing even native species as part of the micromanagement of nature does not stop with pukeko though. One professor of ecology is on record suggesting the need for culling kaka the sanctuary has reintroduced to Wellington. We reintroduce them, they fly out beyond the sanctuary boundary and do well for themselves then we plot to execute them “usefully as a routine cultural harvest” no less. Go think deeply on that idea, without a doubt there’s something wrong with all of it. Ideally the ‘pest’ control industry and the members of the community trapping movement, some of whom have openly admitted to finding killing small animals to be “weirdly addictive,” will eventually go the way of the Zealandia weasel and finally a modicum of sanity will prevail.

  9. NigelTwo, 16. October 2018, 11:18

    @Sekhmet Bast Ra. We have our own pukeko killing fields. It’s called the Kapiti Expressway and it’s littered with them.

  10. Farmer Bill, 16. October 2018, 12:02

    NigelTwo we have our own killing field too. It’s the Rimutaka Hill Road – which is often carpeted in squashed possum – Good tucker for the NZ hawk/harrier which dice with death swooping down to peck at the tasty schnitzels. The Aussie pukekos get hit along the water races in the Wairarapa as do the much maligned mallard. It’s certainly a jungle out there, with cars the biggest ‘predators’ by a country mile. I can’t see DOC exterminating the car though!

  11. Harry M, 17. October 2018, 6:48

    These cars are not self driving, humans drive them. We put roads through their habitat. Humans are the predators. And as clever predators, we point the finger at one little weasel (and assorted scapegoats). When in fact it is humans that destroy habitats and are poisoning the nation. It’s time we put our egos out, otherwise the delusions of grandeur continue.

  12. Andrew, 17. October 2018, 8:39

    Too right Harry, just about as bad as putting keyboards in the hands of humans then connecting them to the internet.

  13. Harry M, 17. October 2018, 11:16

    Not quite the same thing Andrew. People being able to connect to google’s internet means any idiot can feed ideas into the collective hive mind. So we see humanity infected with mental viruses. Those in the increasingly censored internet sites have mental viruses (ideology and dogma ) which are 100% establishment engineered . Free thought left the building many years ago. Nowadays people connected to their phonex, like it is part of their self, just adopt “govt think” .