Home / Articles / The world outdoors

Rats have invaded predator-free island

Ulva Island. Photo: Andrew Rutherford, Creative Commons

A wrap of the biggest stories and best writing about the outdoors from New Zealand and around the world.

An island sanctuary renowned for offering a taste of what New Zealand used to be like thanks to its protected birdlife and ancient forest and plant species, is now under serious threat.

A rat was found on Ulva Island, off Stewart Island, in February. Since then, the mammals have spread to different parts of the island, despite DOC’s efforts to get rid of them.

It’s not uncommon for rats to be found there – DOC says they’ve been seen every year since 2012 – but they’re normally fought off quickly.

The department’s now devising a long-term plan with the local community, which might involve keeping the rats at low numbers, or trying to eradicate them altogether with ground-based or aerial toxins.

DOC Rakiura Operations Manager Ren Leppens said: “If rats are not stamped out, we’re facing a loss of some species from the island and impacts on tourism businesses that operate there.” Read more on this story at New Zealand Herald

Strolling to victory

Imagine finishing a marathon to discover you’d been beaten by someone pushing a child stroller. That’s what EVERY runner experienced in the recent Buffalo Marathon in the US.

Lucas McAneney won the race while pushing his two-year-old son Sutton, with a finishing time of 2:33:29.

Lucas was a keen runner before becoming a dad, and his wife bought the stroller shortly after Sutton was born so he could continue his passion.

Despite his success, he didn’t manage to beat a world record set by Calum Nerf in 2016 of 2:31:21. He was on course until the final few kilometres, but then, “my legs turned off”. Read more here.

Trampers made the right call to camp under a tree

Two trampers who were out with their dogs in Canterbury’s Lees Valley did the right thing when they realised a river was too high to cross.

They’d been aiming to reach a hut in heavy rain, but upon reaching Ashley River they decided crossing wasn’t an option and they were trapped.

They sheltered under a tree and activated their personal locator beacon at 5.30 the following morning when they realised the river was still to high. They were then winched to safety.

“They didn’t try to cross the river. They did the right thing,” Garden City Helicopters general manager Simon Duncan told Stuff

Gastro outbreak in the hills

Meanwhile, in Ruahine Forest Park, a seriously unpleasant situation led to more trampers requiring a rescue.

Several members of one group came down with gastroenteritis halfway through their tramp, with three needing to be taken to hospital by helicopter.

The group split after the illness took hold, but we’re not yet sure as to why they did this. Read more at Stuff

Bungee jump record broken

New Zealand has lost the prestigious crown for the most bungee jumps completed in a 24-hour period.

Until recently, Kiwi Mike Heard held the record with 430 jumps. But that has now been trounced by Frenchman Francois-Marie Dibon who amassed a whopping 765 jumps.

Each leap was from 40 metres high, and he actually broke the world record in just 12 hours, after which he had a 50-minute rest before continuing to set new heights.

Dibon was surprised at how quickly he passed the 430 mark, and that he’s now going to chill. “My body deserves a lot of rest, so I’m going to do that,” he told The Guardian