Weasels hitch a ride

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Telephone: 029 894 0328

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is applauding a sharp-eyed worker who recently spotted some hitchhiking baby weasels at a quarantine facility in Hamilton.

The worker found three baby weasels in a consignment of new tyres from Malaysia at an MPI-approved transitional facility in Te Rapa.

“The worker did the right thing by immediately closing the container after the find and then calling MPI to check the remainder of the consignment,” says Sharon Tohovaka, MPI North Ports Manager.

“It was a great find. Sure, the weasels were dead, but they could have been carrying pests or diseases harmful to New Zealand’s primary industries or environment.

“If they had arrived alive and managed to get free there would have been greater biosecurity risk – the possibility of a new weasel species causing havoc with our native wildlife.”

She says the exact species was not identified, but that the weasels were a very unusual biosecurity interception for MPI.

Transitional facilities are locations that MPI has approved to inspect, hold, or process biosecurity risk goods. Facilities that receive sea containers must have MPI-trained personnel available to check the containers for biosecurity risks.

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