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The hunt for a rogue stoat on the loose in Kapiti Island nature reserve for over three months could be over after one was found in a trap today, the Department of Conservation says.
The stoat was found by DOC trapper Hamish Farrell, who was "pretty wrapt" to find it dead, ranger Clint Purches said.
It was still to early to say whether it was the one seen by a staff member in November and DOC would continue searching, Mr Purches said.
If it was the only one, having the island pest-free again would be a "great boost" to its conservation, he said.
Even having one stoat on the island could do a lot of damage to wildlife on the island.
"They're really just little killing machines."
The spotting of a stoat on the island in November sparked a massive search with more than 150 traps being laid.
It was unclear how the animal came to be on Kapiti, but DOC staff believed it might have swum the 5km from the mainland.
Kapiti had previously been predator-free for more than 10 years, after possums and rats were eliminated in the 1980s and 1990s.