Mousehunter may get scent to reserve

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 20/09/2013

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A new addition is being considered for the Rotokare Scenic Trust's pest-blitzing armoury - a dog trained to hunt mice.

Rotokare Sanctuary manager Simon Collins said the trust was always keen to explore more options for pest control, and they had contracted rodent dogs in the past.

He said they had eradicated possums, stoats, rats and cats and now wanted to deal to the smallest and most elusive pest mammal.

"We've achieved a pest-free sanctuary but the mouse incursion is still a problem. "They're the hardest beast to rein in, with rodents coming in on vehicles. A rodent dog, if we are able to have one on the staff, would be a huge tool in our armoury."

The costs for the professionally-trained dog, provided by the Department of Conservation, would be considerable, he said.

Rodent dogs were usually terriers, but other dogs could be trained to do the job, such as blue heelers.

Mr Collins said mice were not a bad problem but the sanctuary concept was to eradicate all non-native land-born mammals.

"They compete for food and predate on lizards. In the absence of rats and cats, mice are left unchecked."

He said visitors to the reserve could help combat the mouse problem by checking their vehicles before entering.

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