Quarantine - Auckland City
Quarantine work is a crucial step towards an efficient biosecurity system when conserving predator free islands or sanctuaries. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to eradicate pests, and it takes committment and decipline to keep the predators off and not accidently re-introduce them.
Auckland City is fortunate to have some of the most accessible and well-known predator-free islands just a boat trip away from the city centre. It has provided ample opportunity for large amounts of visitors and groups to experience the wildlife, including many schools and students.
But with so many people, gear and vessels arriving on these islands - quarantine becomes a hugely important procedure.
The rodent dogs checking gear destined for one of the predator-free islands in Auckland City Centre.
Some of the gear was cling-wrapped to help stop foreign animals from hiding inside the packs.
The Wildlife Protection Services' rodent detection team have been fortunate enough to be part of this quarantine experience. Taking the dogs on the ferry to the heart of Auckland to search large amounts of gear and people headed to the pest-free islands. Visitors ranging from tourists, curious locals, school groups, university students, local residents and of course the many volunteers that work on some of these islands. As well as in some cases (like Motutapu where the island is still farmed for cattle and sheep) stock trucks and crates destined for the island on barges.
It is hugely important that people understand why this quarantine is a neccessity, (as many will find it more of an inconvenience). To protect the rare and endangered wildlife dwelling on some of these islands, we need to stop all predators from gaining access to the islands and the ferries are an ideal vector for incursions. It would also cost a huge amount of money, time and sacrifice of some native wildlife to re-eradicate using poison.
It's no longer just rats and mice that they are searching for as a threat. With Auckland being often the first-stop for international aircraft and vessels, there have been many foreign species of animals that have come through .
The quarantine procedures includes searching for insects (like the Argentine Ant), seeds, (to avoid invasive weeds spreading), dirt (that may carry foreign diseases) and even lizards (such as the Plague Skink). Which makes it all the more important to check and clean your gear before heading out to these special places.
The dogs are often very useful in searching these items and also of course the vessels and vehicles that transport it. Giving much more confidence to people that a rodent is unlikely to be hitching a ride.