The first six monitored chicks to hatch this season have sadly been killed by stoats. The chicks that hatched between late August and mid-September had the unmistakable signs of stoat predation; a single bite to the back of the neck.
Chick monitoring team leader, Sue Laurent, said that the volunteer ‘Chick Pingers’ were devastated to learn that one chick had died, but then the others were killed within days of each other.
“We normally have a few chick deaths each season, but nothing like this. We think it may even be just one or two stoats that have become, trap shy.”
Sue has been volunteering for the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust for approximately seven years and is part of the team that has deployed extra traps and the stoat toxin para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP). The Whakatāne Kiwi Trust is one of the Kiwibank PF2050 Trust supported groups.
“We have used different methods to try and control these predators, but they seem to be one step ahead. We used a stoat dog last week to try and locate dens, which he did, but unfortunately the stoat managed to seek refuge in a tree.” Sue said.
In a bid to get ahead of the game the Whakatāne Kiwi Trust is currently training its own dog, Ted, a young terrier who will soon be part of the team. Ted will be another tool in the arsenal to help the wildlife living in our backyard.
DOC Community Ranger Bridget Palmer says a great way for locals to help our wildlife is to join the growing urban trapping movement.
“Visit the HALO Whakatāne Urban Trapping ‘Pop Up Shop’ and buy a subsidised trap for your own backyard.
“This will not only help the kiwi trust, but all the other local conservation projects in the area.
“By controlling the pests in the urban environment, we will reduce the number venturing into the bush and causing havoc with our wildlife.
"As a community, we can expand our pest control one trap at a time,” she said.
The HALO Whakatāne ‘Pop up Shop’ is being run during Conservation Week (16-20 October), at 205 The Strand, Whakatāne.
Also during Conservation Week, Bridget is giving a presentation at the Whakatāne Library and Exhibition Centre (10 am, 21 October), explaining why Whakatāne is lucky to be called the ‘Kiwi Capital of the World™’, what Halo Whakatāne is all about and how you can help our wildlife from your own backyard.