Entry for:150 Years of Discovery: Emerging Research
1. Please provide a brief summary of your video and research.
Our alpine wildlife is getting hammered by stoats.
Once thought of as somewhat of a refuge for wildlife due to the cold, it is now clear that stoats in alpine zone are preying heavilly on threatened and critically threatened bird species, like kea, takahe, kiwi and rock wren as well as alpine geckos and giant weta.
In an effort to reverse alpine biodiversity declines, stoat control has begun at alpine sites around the South Island. Problem is, the alpine zone is huge - over 18% of the total landmass of New Zealand. There is no way we can protect it all. My research focuses on identifying variation in what stoats eat in the alpine zone, in order to prioritise areas, times or native species at greater risk of predation.
Using a new biochemical technique I assess the chemical signature of stoat carcases in order to measure what stoats are eating, where, or rather, what is being eaten by stoats. Working with community trapping organisations, Department of Conservation offices, and contract trappers I analyse diet of stoats from four national parks, and assess how diet varies between sites, time periods or even individual stoats. This information will provide conservation managers with critical information to ensure they place their limited conservation resources where they will achieve the maximum gains in protecting our fantastic alpine fauna.
2. Do you have a video hashtag for sharing via twitter?