To date we have spent 452 man hours. Our kill totals are Rats - 758, Hedgehogs - 144, Ferrets/stoats - 36 and Feral cats - 2.
This begs the question are we making a difference. There is some evidence to suggest we are, though there could be other environmental influences. The 2013 Autumn Dabchick count gave us an average of 44 birds over three counts. In 2016 this had risen to 72. Besides Dabchicks (NZ’s only endemic Grebe) there are more Scaup and Coot young seen. Pied Stilt have successfully bred on the lake shore near the boardwalk. Also if you are out at dusk or dawn you may hear or see Spotless Crake another at risk native bird.
We have been trialling at an App with help from Steve Webb produced by Trap NZ that allows us to record trap records online and from your cell phone. The developers have loaded data for two of our trap lines into the data base. We will see how well this works and if it is robust and then see if we should be using this as means to capture all our trap data and locations. In 2017 it is intended to set up a new trap line around the Miller Road side of the wetland the new walkway skirts.
After the meeting a number of people talked to me about predation of young Dabchicks and Ducklings by Hawks. It is unfortunate that this happens but we must remember that our endemic birds evolved with only avian predators. The rats, stoats, ferrets etc are something that these birds have not had time to evolve strategies for. Thus eradicating the introduced pests will give the Dabchicks and Scaup a chance to compete in their natural environment.
If you have any suggestions, questions or wish to help please phone:
0274 781 899