This threatened bird once inhabited most of the islands in the Chatham group, but following the introduction of predatory rats and cats to Chatham, Pitt and Mangere Islands, the snipe became confined to just Rangatira and Star Keys by 1970 (7). The Chatham Island snipe had also come close to extinction on Rangatira, with a large sheep population degrading the island’s habitat (8). Thankfully, all livestock were removed from the island in 1961 (2), leaving the snipe population to recover (8). The cat population on Mangere eventually died-out after extensive hunting (7), and the Chatham Island snipe could be re-introduced to the island. Shortly after, the snipe colonised the predator-free Little Mangere Island (7) (9).
Today, the population of Chatham Island snipes is believed to be stable but, as past experience shows, it is in danger of rapid extinction if the islands on which it occurs are colonised by rats, cats, pigs, or weka (flightless ground-dwelling birds), all of which are present on neighbouring islands (2).