The traps were installed by Predator Free Taupō and local Forest & Bird, with support from the Department of Conservation as part of Conservation Week.
The forty DOC200 traps – which target rats and stoats – were donated to Predator Free Taupō by DOC as part of the group’s initial set up to work towards Predator Free 2050.
The volunteers learnt the ins and outs of starting a predator control programme, from the home range of a rat, to GPS skills, lures, and most importantly safe setting technique for the traps. An almost one-to-one ratio of rangers to volunteers meant a quality experience for all involved. The volunteers will take on the responsibility of the day-to-day running of the trapping project.
Since the launch of Predator Free 2050 last year, momentum has been gathering in the Taupō community to take action. Robyn Ellis from Predator Free Taupō has been impressed by the amount of interest and earlier this month facilitated the launch of a backyard trapping project in Acacia Bay, “We can see how keen the community are, so we’ve been working hard to create opportunities for people to learn and get involved.”
Opepe Bush Historic Reserve is only 15 minutes from Taupo with two easy walking loop tracks, making it popular with families and dog walkers. It is also the closest example of mature podocarp forest to town where you can see examples of large rimu and matai and a range of native bird species. All this makes it an ideal location for community led conservation work.
DOC Central Plateau Operations Manager Dave Lumley said research shows that the vast majority of New Zealanders (85%*) rate conservation as important to them personally. “Yet still only about one in ten have actively helped on a conservation project,” he says. “With a variety of projects around Lake Taupō we’re hoping to see more locals get involved in Predator Free efforts – even a simple rat trap in your backyard will make a difference.”
Taupō residents keen to take action can contact Predator Free Taupō through Facebook or the Predator Free website.
Predator Free 2050
Ridding New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050 is a New Zealand-wide goal. It will require new techniques and a coordinated team effort across communities, iwi, and the public and private sectors.
Predator Free 2050 will deliver huge benefits across New Zealand – for the social and cultural links with our environment, for our regional economies through primary industries and tourism and for our threatened native species.
It will build on tens of thousands of committed community volunteers and private landowners who are already working on habitat protection.
Predator Free Taupō aims
- To have every household in the greater Taupō area trapping rats, mustelids and possums. A coordinated community based trapping programme will enhance the environment so our birds can thrive.
- To facilitate the application and distribution of funds to our community groups to help grow the programme.
- To coordinate larger pest control projects which may involve a mixture of private and public land. Examples are Opepe Reserve, Waipahihi Gully Restoration and the Waikato River Corridor from Control Gates bridge to Aratiatia.
*Engagement figures come from the Survey of New Zealanders 2016.