Predator control in rural Taranaki is vital to the success of Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki.
It forms a large chunk of the work to ultimately remove predators and prevent re-infestations across the region’s 700,000 hectares. Many landowners and occupiers are already trapping possums and doing an awesome job - dropping numbers to below a 10% residual catch rate (fewer than 10 possums per 100 traps). But we need to expand this work to restore Taranaki, protecting our native wildlife and bush.
We’re utilising new IOT (Internet Of Things) technology to scale up existing trapping work. Farmers and occupiers around the ring plan will be contacted individually about this. Traps will be subsidised, with the wireless infrastructure fully funded. The new wireless trapping network will notify trappers and the Council of real-time captures and when traps need servicing, allowing more efficient trapping and on a bigger scale. In order to manage the instalment of the infrastructure, the roll-out will be in stages, starting in the rural Waiwhakaiho catchment (between New Plymouth and the mountain) in 2018-2019.
Contractors will place traps along a combination of habitat, races and farm tracks, with a variety of traps to target stoats, ferrets and weasels. Contractors will ensure correct trap placement, density and connect devices to a wireless network and app, helping ensure the overall success of the program.
Residents in the rural Waiwhakiho catchment can expect to be contacted by Council staff from 10 August to discuss the details. Rural residents in other areas around the ring plain will be contacted as different phases of the project start.
Rural trapping technology
This is based on the LoRa platform, described as “a very low-power wireless sensor network”. A wireless node is placed on each trap in a network, set to a certain frequency. When a trap is activated, the node sends a signal to a central hub, and this information is then sent via satellite or cell tower to cloud servers. After processing, the data is provided to users through a web portal, email or mobile.
Initially trap checking will be done by a contractor, after one or two checks and testing of the wireless devices it will become the landowner’s responsibility to check and maintain the trapping network on their property.