Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


With Possum trapping increasing during the winter months, it is timely to remind people that possum traps can endanger kiwi if they are not used correctly.

Date:  30 April 2013

Possum trapping increases during winter and with the season fast approaching it is timely to remind people that possum traps can endanger kiwi if they are not used correctly. Our area has a prevalence of kiwi and we need to keep them safe.

These images below are of a local female kiwi bird that was caught in a ‘leg hold’ trap set on the ground and had to be euthanised. She had been a very healthy specimen.

Female kiwi caught in trap.

These types of injuries happen strictly when ‘leg hold’ traps are set on the ground. Most leg injuries will mean that the kiwi will have to be euthanised.

‘Leg hold’ traps are used by conservation organisations and private individuals for the ground control of possums or for the collection of possum fur. Conservation staff use simple methods that protect kiwi from the traps and strongly encourage private trappers to also follow these two simple methods:

1. Raise the trap above the ground

You can help protect kiwi in our region by raising the trap off the ground by 35 cm. This will prevent kiwi from walking over a trap and being caught. This will not impact on the efficiency of the trap as possums will still reach up and get caught in the trap. To raise the trap you can either use two nails to attach trap to a tree or use wooden boards to sit the trap on top of. In other regions where weka are present we advice raising traps to 70 cm.

2. Use only legal traps and check regularly

Some traps (including the commonly known ‘gin traps) are illegal following amendments to the Animal Welfare Act (1999). It is also an offence under the Act to set traps within 150 metres of any dwelling or to leave traps uninspected for more than 12 hours after sunrise on each day the trap remains set.

These traps are illegal to use:

Lanes Ace (commonly known as Gin trap).
Lanes Ace (commonly known as Gin trap)

Double-coil spring size 11/2 unpadded.
Double-coil spring size 11/2 unpadded.

To protect kiwi from injury please ensure that you take these simple steps. For more information please contact your local DOC office.


Jasmine Hessell
Programme Manager Community Relations
Whanganui Area
Phone: +64 6 349 2100

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