Apr 19 2014

Update Predator Control

We have just trialled two new baits in our trap lines at Hamurana Springs.
All traps have been baited with “Erayz” freeze dried rabbit blocks, and every second trap was also sprayed with an aerosol salmon spray lure. This resulted in a catch after one week of 9 rats, 2 hedgehogs and 1 cat. Our sincere thanks to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Environment Enhancement Fund for the opportunity to purchase these new baits.

The spray on salmon lure (odd numbered traps) resulted in 7 catches, while the non-salmon lure traps resulted in 3 catches. Two traps had two rats, and we got catches at Traps 17 and 25, which haven’t caught for more than 12 months. These results show that the spray lure has been very effective and so has the rabbit bait. It also shows that we should never rest on our laurels with trapping predators. While it appeared we had got on top of the rat population at around 6 catches per month for the last 6 or more months, suddenly we get 9 in a week. They are always out there, we just have to keep coming up with new and better ways to catch them.

As a way of knowing whether our trapping efforts are having any benefit to the general ecology of the Reserve, we monitor fantail numbers each season. Counts of territorial adult pairs are done throughout September to give a total at 1 October, then repeat counts are done throughout March/April to give an end of season total at mid April. For the 2013/2014 season, we started with 15 pairs and finished the season with 16 pairs plus 4 extra birds!
This is really great to see after another very dry late summer period. It strongly indicates that our trapping efforts are having a positive effect on fantail survival and productivity at the Reserve, so great work to everyone that has been involved checking our traps –

Kerry Oates