It forms a large chunk of the work to ultimately remove predators and prevent re-infestations across the region’s 700,000 hectares. The Taranaki Regional Council’s Self-help Possum Programme has been running for many years with strong landowner support. As a result possum numbers on many farms have dropped to below a 10% residual catch rate (fewer than 10 possums per 100 traps).
But we needed to expand on this work to restore Taranaki, protecting our native wildlife and bush.
In partnership with rural residents, the Self-help Pest Programme is removing mustelids from farmland on a large-scale, for the first time in Taranaki, using a mix of new trapping technology and traditional, proven predator control.
Rural residents are using new trapping technology to monitor and maintain traps on their property. The latest in new trapping technology makes trapping more efficient, helping expand predator control. It includes ‘econodes’ (remote trap sensors), wireless nodes that send catch notifications to devices, and the trapping app, Trap.NZ.
In order to manage the instalment of the infrastructure, the roll-out of the programme will take place in stages, starting in the rural Waiwhakaiho catchment (between New Plymouth and Mt Taranaki) in 2018-2019. In a significant milestone for the programme, that handover is now complete and Waiwhakaiho landowners have taken control of the trapping networks on their properties.
Contractors placed traps along a combination of habitat, races and farm tracks, with a variety of traps to target stoats, ferrets and weasels. They ensured correct trap placement and density, connected devices to a wireless network and app and for about 12 months they worked with landowners to hand over the management of the traps.
Establishing a network of traps on private land around the border of the national park was the major rural target for Year 2 of the project. And, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 lockdown, it has been completed on target and we are excited to start seeing the results.
A recent study found a 90% reduction in mustelids in areas targeted by trapping. Read more here.
In Year 3 the project expands to the area from Okato around to Rahotu - from the national park to the coast. Contractors will be working with landowners in late 2020 to get this under way.
If you’re trapping at home, register with the online database Trap.NZ, via its website or app. Then record all your catches and also your trap checks (even when nothing has been caught). This makes Trap.NZ a source of valuable data tracking the region’s efforts and identifying gaps.