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Stowaway mouse snared by biosecurity dog

Published: 29 April 2021

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Don’t risk it – check it!

A mouse, hoping to spend a relaxing weekend on an island in the Hauraki Gulf, had its plans derailed when it was spotted emerging from a passenger’s bag and scurrying off into the confines of a pest-free warranted vessel.

“This is a timely reminder of why biosecurity practises are so important and why we ask passengers and boaties to check their gear carefully before heading out onto the gulf,” says Liz Brooks, Biosecurity Manager for the Hauraki Gulf.

“Most of the gulf islands are pest free and home to a wide range of rare and endangered birds. The “check, clean, close” message is a serious one and there to help protect those native birds.’

The mouse remained at large for three days, eluding all attempts of capture before the Auckland Council biosecurity team called into action a four-legged helper.

Rosie the rodent detection dog arrived on the job. 

Her cunning nose led her to a glove in the passenger’s bag where it appears the mouse had been living. There was clear evidence of chewed glove fingers and Rosie spent little time in taking that smell and flushing out the stowaways hiding place; traps were set, and the hitchhiker bagged.

“We were lucky the mouse was spotted before it had the opportunity to get ashore on one of the many pest-free islands. We’re thankful for the crews quick thinking to contact us and demonstrates the importance of the relationship between the pest-free warranted operators and our inspectors,” says dog handler Kerryn Johnson.

Auckland Council’s updated Regional Pest Management Plan came into effect in November last year. Under the plan, all commercial operators in the Hauraki Gulf are required to hold and maintain a pest-free warrant.

The warrant ensures all vessel operators are following good biosecurity practices to further protect the Hauraki Gulf islands from pest transfer.

A salutary reminder to all how easily pests can find their way into belongings and why it is so important to check all gear before leaving the mooring.

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