If you, as an individual or a small group already involved in conservation, want to contribute to this initiative, please consider having a trap or traps in your garden or on your land. The Summit Road Society can loan out traps and give you advice on the type of traps that best suit your situation, as well as any other advice or information that you might need. If we don’t know, we can find out.
The loan traps we use have been specifically chosen to be safe around pets and children, as well as being humane for the predators you are trapping. If you have very young children, you may want to speak to a Predator Free Port Hills representative to help you chose the most appropriate trap.
If you don’t want to handle dead pests, self-resetting traps are also an option.
PCR rat trap left (Pest Control Research) and Trapinator possum trap right (Trapinator).
All the traps we recommend have passed the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) guidelines, which means they kill humanely and are easy to use and maintain.
Monitoring progress is important, so when we loan a trap, we will ask you to record the trap and any catches on the Trap.NZ website.
If you choose to take part, the Summit Road Society will put you in touch with a Local Co-ordinator from your suburb who will:
- Arrange for the provision of traps that suit your situation
- Provide guidance on where to place traps and how to manage and maintain them
- Provide advice on how to record information on pests that are caught
- Provide support to any individuals or groups already carrying out predator control
- Keep everyone involved up to date on progress
- Publicise the work and encourage others to join in
By taking part you will:
- Be part of what we hope will develop into a significant community-led conservation movement and a part of a growing trend nationally, similar to what is being achieved on the Otago Peninsula and Miramar Peninsula in Wellington.
- Join others around New Zealand in the Predator-free New Zealand by 2050 initiative
- See increased biodiversity in your own backyard or in your own patch, particularly an increase in native birds.
Stoat that has been trapped (Avenue, Wikimedia Commons)
What Else Can I Do?
Whether or not you’re interested in trapping, there are lots of other things you can do to help our native species.
Backyard planting is something many of us can contribute. Planting can help to create an ecological corridor or bridge from Banks Peninsula to Christchurch City, which is a goal of the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust.
The Department of Conservation website has a handy section about conservation in your garden (http://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/conservation-activities). It includes information on the best foods for different types of birds, how to make a simple lizard house, taking part in a monitoring programme like the Garden Bird Survey or the Great Kereru Count, and much more. Bird counts are a great way to measure the success of the various steps we all take to improve biodiversity, especially when we monitor populations over time.
As well as doing bird counts, you can also look out for fledged broods of fantails. Young fantails are darker than adults and will remain in a family group for several weeks. Seeing such groups is an excellent indicator of effective ship rat control.
Counts of invertebrates are great too. You can make bug traps with containers buried in the ground and then identify and count the bugs you find. A great activity for kids.
Monitoring pests is also be helpful. This is discussed in the “How to Trap and Monitor Pests” section.
There are few other things you can do including:
- Removing water and food sources or making them less accessible to rats
- If you are providing water for birds, use a bird bath rather than a dish on the ground
- Vermin-proof your hen-house
- Pick up fallen fruit and pick fruit off your trees as soon as it ripens
- Never put meat scraps in your compost. If other food scraps are encouraging rats and mice, consider composting food using a bokashi bin and keeping your compost heap for garden weeds and prunings
- Prune trees back from your house roof if that’s how rats or possums are getting in.
Tui eating flax flowers (Skenneally, Wikimedia Commons)