New technology for stoat control

19 September 2022 | All News » Predators » Predators
stoat with chick

Stoat with chick – David Hallett. 

Project Janszoon is  trialling the latest technology from Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP) – the ZIP Motolure – to make its predator control systems as efficient and effective as possible.

Stoats are a devastating predator of native birds, particularly for many of our iconic native birds, like kākā and whio, which Project Janszoon has been working to restore to the Abel Tasman.


native parrot in beech tree

This native kākā successfully reared three chicks in the 2021-22 season thanks to predator control by Project Janszoon – Gill Wratt

To target stoats and protect our native birds, Project Janszoon along with DOC, Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, and Air New Zealand, maintain a network of over 3500 trap boxes (including 5,500 traps) over nearly 20,000 hectares of the park.  In an average year this network traps about 230 stoats but this can be as high 350 stoats following a rat-plague triggered by a beech mast. Even with this level of trapping, we know via camera monitoring that some stoats remain un-trapped in the park.

man with stoat trap

Resetting a stoat trap in the Abel Tasman National Park – Ruth Bollongino

To support our efforts to trap these remaining predators, we have been following the development of tools by Zero Invasive Predators to detect predators at low density using a “ZIP Motolure”.  The motolure is a device that distributes a small amount of lure (initially egg mayonnaise) each day to attract pests and encourages repeat visits via the food reward.   In addition to helping detect pests, the motolures act as a pre-feeding device to increase trap effectiveness.

Earlier this year, Project Janszoon installed 50 motolures across several thousand hectares of the park to better understand how many stoats remain.   Once we know this, we can consider if it is feasible to target them to get closer to zero.   So far, we haven’t detected any stoats but a few of the lures have attracted repeated visits from possums and rats.  Once we do start detecting stoats, we will target them with traps set up with the motolures.

More information on the motolures can be found here and here.

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