Principal Scientist

A long time ago Elaine started doing a PhD in neurophysiology in Sydney but got too interested in the outdoors. She came to NZ on a climbing holiday & that was that. She completed a PhD on mouse ecology in the Marlborough Sounds & has worked for DOC for about 25 years, following a 3-year stint as a researcher for the TVNZ ‘Wild South’ series.

Her work for DOC started off in Fiordland with the first radio-tracking study of stoats in New Zealand, during which she discovered that stoats covered a lot more ground than we had previously thought. She later discovered that stoats die from secondary poisoning after aerial 1080 operations, and that they can switch their diet when their primary prey is controlled. She went on to oversee the development of PAPP, a new humane toxin for the control of stoats and feral cats.

Elaine cares passionately about the eradication of pests from islands and was on the Technical Advisory Group for the eradication of rodents & rabbits on Macquarie Island. Her expertise is called on regularly to help respond to pest incursions on New Zealand islands.

From 2012-15 Elaine led the MBIE-funded ‘Pest Control for the 21st Century’ programme at Lincoln University.  Elaine has been working on re-setting toxin delivery devices (Spitfires) and social lures for stoats and rats. She is now based at Lincoln University with Tim and Tom, and divides her time between DOC and ZIP.