They take their birdies seriously at Westown Golf Club – native birdies, that is.
The club has launched an extensive trapping programme under Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, the region-wide project reducing populations of rats, possums and stoats, allowing native wildlife and plants to recover and thrive.
“We’re sitting on 22 rats at the moment, and the traps have only been there for about a month, so I’m really pleased about that!” says greenskeeper Steve Hodson.
Steve hopes that through the success they’re experiencing with the trapping network at Westown Golf Course other courses across Taranaki and New Zealand will be encouraged to get involved in trapping as well.
“If we all do a little bit here and a little bit there, this golf course and the next golf course, and we then multiply that across New Zealand, that would be huge!”
He aims to catch as many rats and pest animals as he can so he can leave the place better than he found it.
More than 4000 New Zealand native plant and wildlife species are currently threatened or at risk of extinction. However, Towards Predator-Free Taranaki is helping the region’s community remove introduced predators from urban, rural and conservation land to help restore biodiversity.
“In the long run our effort will be good for my grandkids and their kids but we all have to do our bit because if we all do nothing – and it's easy to do nothing – nothing will get done, ” says Steve.
Steve has been a member of the Mangorei Rd club for more than 30 years and has been the greenskeeper there for 17. With help from the Taranaki Regional Council and support from the course committee and members he and his team have been able to install ten DOC 200 and two A24 rat & stoat traps across the 40-hectare course.
After some successful results catching rats over the past month Steve says course members are really keen to volunteer and have put their hands up to get involved.
“We have a weekly newsletter where I post what we’ve caught in the traps over the week, and feedback from members has been good, really positive.”
“Monday is normally volunteer day and I usually have around ten or twelve guys in here volunteering. The aim while they’re here is to not only get them involved with the trapping but to get their buy-in to it too. Hopefully then they’ll go tell the others guys about it while they’re out on the course on Saturdays, tell them about the positive results we’re getting – share with them the good news, and good news spreads you know.”
“I'm hoping more members will want to help us do it, and perhaps further down the track some members might want to buy some additional traps, you know, really pump it. We could do with some more traps here, there's a lot of area to cover.”
To start or expand trapping in your backyard, find out where you can get your subsidised traps here: www.trc.govt.nz /pf-taranaki2050/#Getinvolved