Status of cat, pig and mice populations on Auckland island

tawhaowhao made this Official Information request to Department of Conservation

The request was successful.

From: tawhaowhao

Dear Department of Conservation,
1)Could you please provide information on the relative abundance indices of the populations of mice, cats and pigs on Auckland island, for the last 5 years?
Recently a press release had the headline:"Cats decimate seabird populations".
2)Can you please confirm this and and also provide the number of observations this finding is based on?
3)what percentage of these observations are likely to be scavenging and not direct predation?
4a) Also what are the current estimated numbers of annually nesting seabirds on Auckland island? 4b)how many species of albatross etc. comprise this total?
5) How long is the duration of seabird nesting season on this island?
6)What do cats eat when no seabirds are available?
7)What size home ranges do Auckland island cats maintain?
8)what evidence of pig predation of seabirds has been found and how is this differentiated from scavenging activity?
9)finally, references to any recent science papers would be appreciated.

Yours faithfully,
Andy Blick

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From: Government Services
Department of Conservation

Dear Andy

On behalf of the Director-General of the Department of Conservation, I confirm receipt of your request below.
Your request has been forwarded to the relevant business group for processing. You will receive a reply in accordance with the requirements of the Official Information Act 1982.

Yours sincerely

Government Services
for Director-General

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From: replies
Department of Conservation

Attachment 19 E 0711 Departmental OIA Blick Response.pdf
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Dear Mr Blick,


Please find attached a response to your request of 11 October 2019.


Kind regards

Department of Conservation

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From: tawhaowhao

Dear Hilary, thank you for your reply.
I would note that the title of your press release was not that circulated in the media most of us saw. As we know the media willingly sensationalises anything to do with so-called pest issues which serves the purpose of your department.
The information provided provides a lot of points for debate. Unfortunately I don't see there being any opportunity for that to happen.
The Department acts as judge, jury and executioner on all these matters.
For most scientific assessments one years worth of data does not give a clear picture. (I would refer you to the Moose/wolf Isle Royale predator prey study which has been going for over 50 years and finds high variability through the years).
In an email with James Russell some years back, maybe 2015, he stated he had had difficulty finding a cat or a mouse in his annual? visit to this island.
It is safe to assume that populations of all three animals fluctuate markedly from one year to the next. The department is choosing to use the figures from just one year to justify a hugely expensive poison programme, knowing that this is a year of high population numbers and may not be the norm.
Poisons have no place in our dialogues with nature.
"Change the way you look at things and what you are looking at changes".

Thanks again.

Yours sincerely,

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