In the “Pāteke survival guide

For pāteke to survive, mustelids, cats and dogs need to be eliminated or controlled to very low levels. Contact the Pāteke Recovery Group for further information.

Key advice for mustelid control

  • Combinations of Fenn traps and DOC 200 (stoats) and 250 traps (ferrets and stoats) are recommended, using single or preferably double sets set in DOC best practice wooden boxes. For more information on DOC 200 and DOC 250 best practice see the Predator Free New Zealand Trust website.
  • Note the entrance hole for DOC 200 traps should be no larger than 60mm x 60mm otherwise cats, possums (and other non-targets) can enter the tunnel. Galvanised mesh with 60 mm holes is ideal. The entrance hole for a DOC 250 is 80mm x 80mm to allow ferrets access to the traps.
  • Wooden tunnels with larger mesh ends are likely to allow more air movement through them therefore increasing the volume of scent for predators to be able to find traps
  • Trapping density needs to be adjusted to the local situation, e.g. more traps will be needed where there is a lot of cover available to predators. As a starting point, 1 trap to 10 ha has been effective for pāteke recovery in several sites, e.g. a trap site every 100–200 m.
  • Trap site selection should reflect the distribution of pāteke and likely hunting areas of predators, e.g. stream edges, bush edges, fence lines, roadsides, beneath canopy, converging features, etc.
  • Mammalian predators prefer to hunt beneath overhead cover.
  • Maintain access to and around trap sites e.g. clearing grass, dig ground as fresh digging can attract mustelids.
  • Consider setting additional traps at a trapping “hot spot”, or in response to a predator sighting.
  • Traps should be set and checked year-round to protect pāteke .
  • Optimal bait is rabbit (egg is less attractive to mustelids) - fresh bait is best (replaced twice a week), but salted rabbit replaced weekly or fortnightly is also effective. Pāteke are more susceptible to mustelids than kiwi and require more frequent re-baiting.
  • Keep baits off the ground by attaching them to a nail in the trap box.
  • Consider changing the types of traps and baits if trap-shy predators are suspected to be present.
  • Remove old (unpalatable) baits and carcasses from the site.
  • Maintain traps and follow health and safety guidelines; refer to the NZ Landcare Trust trapping guidelines (2009) for these and more detailed updates, bait preparation, and monitoring recommendations.

Key advice for cat control

  • Kill traps, e.g. modified SA Conibear cat traps, are ideal, but must be set 70+ cm off the ground on ramp ideally < 35 degrees angle and less than 10 cm wide.
  • Traps should be set every 100–200 metres.
  • Traps should be set and checked year-round to protect pāteke .
  • Fresh rabbit (minced) is ideal for SA Conibear traps (requires “sloppy” bait such as minced meat), not salted or preserved bait.
  • Try different baits; where possible, baits should consist of local food sources used by cats. Effective baits include meat—fresh and salted rabbit, hare, and possum and fish (fresh / frozen / salted).
  • Timms traps—like SA Conibear traps these must be set above the ground.
  • Belisle Super X 220 kill traps are designed to take solid baits such as salted rabbit pieces. These traps are set in a ‘chimney’ trap cover or cubby.
  • Cage traps—cages need to be stable; also block off rear end of cage to stop pawing. Bait with fresh or salted rabbit.
  • Leg-hold traps need to be set in elevated areas away from pāteke, but note that pāteke can also climb sloping trunks to nest sites in Astelia etc. Live capture traps must be checked daily.
  • Remove old baits and carcasses from the trap site.
  • Refer to The NZ Landcare Trust trapping guidelines (2009) for more detailed information.

For more information on DOC best practice for feral cat control, contact DOC.

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