The stoat (Mustela erminea) was introduced in the late 19th century to control rabbits and hares. This ranks as one of the worst ecological blunders ever made by European colonists. Stoats are now by far the most common of the mustelids (members of the weasel family) in New Zealand, and are widespread in forest and on farmland. Voracious predators, they raid nests for eggs and kill chicks and adult birds. There are no mustelids on Stewart Island, and the kiwi population there is doing very well.
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Department of Conservation
Photograph by Rod Morris
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