Want to tackle pests? Libraries of traps set up to fight the “silent killer”
Luke Judd, coordinator of Predator Free BOP. Photo/Andrew Warner
Those battling pests on their property will have a new place to turn next month, with a new service to borrow free traps from set-up to open.
Predator Free BOP and Predator Free Waihi Beach are opening two new “trap libraries” in Tauranga and Waihi Beach on October 3.
Libraries will have traps for stoats, weasels, hedgehogs, opossums and live capture traps for feral cats, which one expert says may be beyond many people’s budgets.
Traps can be borrowed for three months or until no longer needed. Instructions will be given on safe use when the trap is removed. Predator Free already offers free rat traps through its website.
Predator-Free BOP coordinator Luke Judd said the library of traps would help manage the wide variety of pests that threaten wildlife beyond rats.
“There are a lot of properties that deal with pests other than rodents, and they can’t necessarily afford to buy one of these very expensive traps for the possibility of maybe killing that pest.
“A lot of people will either ignore it until it’s gone or just live with it.”
They were inspired to create a library of traps by Debra Jager, who created one at Whakamārama two years ago.
“People usually only need the trap until the problem is fixed and then they don’t need to use it for a while, so something like a library is a perfect setup for that they can deal with the problem.”
Judd said pests are a huge problem in the area.
“We have such rich soil…there are so many orchards, plantations, and it’s heaven for these pests. All these fruits, all the avocados – it’s a very easy place for them to live.
“Not only are they kind of destroying people’s lives, but it’s also a perfect place to breed, so it’s going to be an extremely difficult place for all the birds to live.”
Insects and vegetation, which are food and habitat for birds, are also threatened.
“It’s a silent killer because a lot of these things happen at night…someone who’s in an urban area that doesn’t have a lot of trees or a vegetable garden won’t notice the difference. But…the les rats are running everywhere.”
For those who might struggle with a death trap, Judd recommended asking a neighbor or family member to help unload the traps and understand the importance of eradicating the pests.
“Kill traps are the most ethical way to kill these animals because they are designed and proven to kill them ethically in the most painless and quickest way possible.”
” Now is the time to act. We can’t really afford to close our eyes anymore.
Jager said his area is rich in animals and avocado orchards, as well as woodpiles, which attract predators.
In total they have 400 rat traps, 40 opossum traps and 50 stoat traps, the latter being the most popular.
She said those with pest problems should “start trapping, and they should do it regularly”.
“They have to check them weekly…and change the baits as well, at least every fortnight.”
For those who trap and catch nothing, Jager insisted on changing the bait and trying a new location for the trap.
“They think if they haven’t caught anything, there’s nothing…and that’s not true. They’ll be there, you might have to adapt.”
Those trapping for the first time will receive help and education from the library, she said.
Nataalia Lunson, a ranger with the Tauranga Predator-Free 2050 District Conservation Department, said native species in the bay had “serious problems”.
“Introduced predators are one of the main threats to their survival. Some of our native species would disappear in just two human generations without predator control.”
Lunson said stoats, not rats, were the No. 1 predator of native species in New Zealand.
“Present in the BOP are our native skinks, geckos and Hochstetter’s frog, they are particularly vulnerable to predation by rats.
“Our BOP coastline is home to many rare migratory shorebirds, the Little Blue Penguin and other ground-nesting birds such as our nationally threatened Australian Bittern/matuku and New Zealand Dotterel/tūturiwhatu.”
Lunson said beach towns face unique trapping and predator challenges because they attract “vacation pets that can quickly exhibit harmful behaviors.”
“Dogs and cats pose a huge threat to our native protected species. Our beloved sand dunes and coastal wetlands have unique ecosystems of flora and fauna, which provide shelter and feeding habitats to many. many endangered species.
“Respecting that trapping must take place in these areas is essential. It is up to pet owners to respect these no-go areas and trapping areas.”
Lunson said the DoC “recommends the use of traps that have passed the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) testing guidelines. We do not condone trapping that causes an animal pain or distress. unreasonable or unnecessary”.
“We have proven in many parts of the country that when we eliminate or manage predators, nature returns. Even individual actions help nature. If we all play a part in supporting this common cause, the difference will be even greater, more visible and sustainable.
Bay Conservation Alliance chief executive Michelle Elborn said the bay was dealing with high pest numbers.
“You can’t do pest control for a year and walk away or the pests quickly re-invade, so successful pest control, whether in natural environments or urban areas, achieves the best results with continued effort. “
She said trapping pests was an extremely important part of conservation efforts.
“All pests have an impact and the more of them we can eliminate, the more our native birds will thrive.
“The reward comes when you start to see new or increased numbers of species in your backyard, local park or suburb. The way to be more effective is for us all to play our part and that’s where trapping in the yard is so powerful.
“Failing to trap means the pests have the ability to continue to grow their populations, and as they grow in number it has a devastating effect on our native species…which is why the library of traps is a tremendous opportunity to help break the traps across the community.”