The rats, possums, stoats, hedgehogs and mice that infest New Zealand’s wilderness kill 26 million native birds every year.
Introduced predators like rats and possums are our native birds' worst enemies. Their eggs and babies are defenseless against them.
Many people don't realise how many pests there are in a typical Auckland backyard. Rats and possums are nocturnal, so you're unlikely to see them. However, lay a good trap and you’ll soon find out how busy your backyard is while you’re blissfully sleeping.
Snells Beach Conservation Community (SSCC) is launching a trapping programme to make Snells Beach pest free. With the help of Russell Cullen, who set up Pest Free Warkworth, we recently held our first workshop, attended by an enthusiastic group of SSCC members, and volunteers, some of whom are already experienced trappers, keen to assist. Russell demonstrated the use and maintenance of traps, and gave us helpful advice on running a predator trapping programme.
To do this we are asking for your help. We will need Snells Beach residents to agree to have a trap in their backyard, and volunteers to monitor the traps where required. There will be some homeowners who will prefer to look after their own trap, and others who would like a volunteer to monitor it for them. Training and ongoing support will be given to volunteers and homeowners.
Initially SSCC plans to start with a trapline running north to south, placing traps in properties that are in streets close to the beach or reserve. With traps approximately every five houses this has been shown to be effective in protecting shorebirds from predation. From there we plan to expand further into the residential area, to make it safe for native birds and wildlife to return to our gardens.
SSCC has the support of the Natural Environment team, Auckland Council, who have approved the project and have plans to include the reserve in the programme.
Residents who would like to see a predator free Snells, and are willing to help by volunteering either their time, or by allowing a trap to be placed on their property, please contact us.
Traps and pet safety
As a backyard trapping programme in an urban area, we want to make sure that pets are kept safe. Extensive research has been done on traps and pet safety, and the traps approved for our programme are widely used in urban areas across New Zealand.
Rat trap tunnels and DOC200s
Housed in wooden boxes and tunnels.
The entrance is small (rat sized) to reduce bycatch and keep pets and kids safe.
It is possible that a small kitten could fit through the entrance. If you have a very small kitten, please keep them inside while the trap is set.