Rural predator control

Predator control in rural Taranaki is vital to the success of Taranaki Taku Tūranga - Towards 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. 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.

GPS collars track Taranaki predators

GPS tracking collars on stoats in rural Taranaki may look cute, but they will provide vital information to help understand these notorious predators. “These predators may look harmless, but stoats are skilled killers responsible for up to 60% of kiwi chick deaths, and this information will be vital to rid stoats from both rural Taranaki and Taranaki mounga.” Towards Predator-Free Taranaki Project Manager Toby Shanley says. The images show stoats being trapped, collared and released in rural Taranaki by Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, which is collaborating with rural Taranaki landowners, Taranaki Regional Council and Taranaki Mounga Project as part of Towards Predator-Free Taranaki. In February this year ecologists from Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research captured and collared four stoats, weasels, and ferrets (mustelids) on farmland surrounding Egmont National Park. They will return in the coming weeks to catch more stoats and ferrets. Find out more:

Posted by Towards Predator-Free Taranaki on Thursday, 7 March 2019


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. 




What is Trap.NZ?

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.

Visit Trap.NZ website(external link)