Introduction

Prizes are on offer for Rotorua residents who take part in a rodent hunt during Conservation Week 2015.

Rotorua Residents are being asked to hunt rats and mice as part of a community rodent hunt organised by DOC for Conservation Week 2015.

The individual who traps the most rats and mice between November 1 – 8 will be awarded tickets to Rotorua Canopy Tours and DOC has arranged a number of additional spot prizes.

"As long as your trapping method is safe for people, pets and native wildlife, we're encouraging everybody to get involved in this Conservation Week event," explains DOC Ranger Caraline Abbott.

"Rodents have devastating effects on insects and birds across New Zealand and also spread diseases that pose a health risk to humans."

"We thought a community rodent hunt would be a great conservation week activity for community groups like Brownies and scouts but also local businesses."

Competition entry conditions include obtaining landowner permission to trap on their land and covering traps to make sure children, pets and native wildlife are not at risk of being trapped.  

"The inexpensive rodent traps from hardware stores and supermarkets are effective at catching mice and rats. Rats can be cunning and tend to avoid traps. Rats traps are best located in areas along their track ways and not out in the open. You need to check them daily and reset those that have been successful" explains Mrs Abbott.

Public safety is really important to DOC so we're happy to provide advice on ways to trap predators without posing a risk to people and native wildlife."

Participants are asked to email DOC with a photo of their dead rodents at the end of Conservation Week.

"It's great that Rotorua Canopy Tours are sponsoring the event as they are really relevant to pest control in our district. Just this week they have killed 140 rats and 30 possums. During a previous Conservation Week they removed 750 individual predators from the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve."

To help encourage participation, DOC has delivered rat traps to local radio stations, newspaper reporters and some businesses.

"It would be great to see a bit of friendly competition between community organisations! It's all for a good cause! " said Mrs Abbott.

Both DOC and Canopy tours have a number of basic rodent traps available to be distributed into the community. Further information, registration forms and terms of entry are available by emailing cabbott@doc.govt.nz.

"The rodent hunt is a fun way to educate the public about the effects rodents have on birds and insects. The competition is in the spirit of Conservation Week which has always been about engaging more people in conservation in their area in a fun way."

The rodent hunt is just one event being organised for Conservation Week 2015. Other events include kiwi aversion training for dogs, a national geocaching challenge, a photography competition and a cleanup of the Ohau Channel organised by River Rats. Full details are available on the DOC website.

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