Unusually, rats are not as much of a problem in the Te Manahuna Aoraki project area as they are for other conservation projects.
There are no ship rats in the project area, but we do catch Norway rats in the wetlands and tarns of the Cass and Godley River valleys. Luckily the cold keeps rats away in large numbers, and the tussock dryland alpine environment is not to their liking.
However, the rats that do exist here are large enough to kill nesting braided river birds, and they eat rare native wētā, birds eggs, snails, frogs, and lizards. They are also partial to native flowers, fruit and seeds, which puts them in competition with native wildlife for food.
Photo : VJ Anderson Wikimedia Commons