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Effects of rodent poisoning on Powelliphanta traversi

Bennett, S.J., Standish, R.J.ORCID: 0000-0001-8118-1904 and Stringer, A.N. (2002) Effects of rodent poisoning on Powelliphanta traversi. Science for Conservation, 195C . pp. 41-56.

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Rat predation is a threat to lowland Powelliphanta traversi (giant predatory land snail), and we have shown that ‘press’ poisoning of rodents (rats and mice) using brodifacoum baits significantly reduces rat abundance relative to non-poisoned areas. The effect on P. t. traversi was evident by the increase in population size, mainly due to adult migration, and a decrease in rat-damaged shells, for areas where rat predation occurs. A longer-term study is required to determine whether prolonged rat control benefits P. t. traversi recruitment. Mouse control was inadequate with use of brodifacoum baits. We document a concomitant rise in bird predation of P. traversi when rat abundance was reduced, suggesting that control of both is necessary to make real conservation gains. However, mortality related to other factors was more common than that caused by predators, possibly due to the habitat drying out periodically. We suggest that low recruitment rates, predator targeting of juveniles (i.e. blackbirds, song thrush and possibly mice and hedgehogs) and poor habitat conditions are the main threats to survival of lowland P. traversi.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Department of Conservation, Wellington, NZ
Copyright: © April 2002, Department of Conservation
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