Landcare Okareka have a permit from Department of Conservation to set kill traps in the Lake Okareka esplanade reserve areas, in an effort to remove some of the rats and mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets) that are most certainly predating wetland birds, especially the dab chicks.
This will be a joint project with the dab chick monitoring group and Landcare Okareka volunteers.
Landcare Okareka has a budget with Bay of Plenty Regional Council under a Biodiversity Management Plan for the Lake Okareka area, which includes rat bait Ditrac. This rat poison bait is fed in bait stations on individual properties in the settlement area. The rat bait to the village area is provided to help support the Forest & Bird animal pest control programme in the Lake Tikitapu Scenic Reserve. The F&B project has been set up to help maintain and enhance the mistletoe growing in the reserve, the host plants, the native bush generally and the bird life. But the rat bait in the village area also helps the dab chick population.
The dab chick monitoring group were offered the chance to get some DOC 250 traps, contained within specially built boxes. Mike Vincent procured these traps. Landcare Okareka Steering Committee were keen to support this initiative to help protect the nesting wet land birdlife especially dab chicks, as we are not allowed to use the rat bait on public reserve land without going through a very long drawn out permission process.
We are seeking volunteers to help with a twice weekly trap checking programme. There is a special tool required to re-set the traps.
Golf balls or ping pong balls with peanut butter act as lure - round white ball shape appeals to mustelids who are sight driven apparently (round white balls look like eggs) and peanut butter is the lure for rats.
Please let me know if you would like to help with this project and if a weekday or weekend would suit you best. As daylight saving begins soon, some people may be able to help after work. It takes somewhere between 1 -1 1/2 hours to check the traps. At the moment there are 9 traps out.
You will be given some training to re-set the traps and shown where the traps are located. Trap catch and time taken will need to be taken note of and passed onto Mike Vincent who will maintain a spread sheet of results.
The traps have been out for about 10 days now and so far 9 rats have been caught.