55 bait stations have been removed from the Okareka end of the reserve giving a grid of 100m x 100m throughout the reserve. In the process several lines had some realignment done and the Ridge and Saddle tracks were also realigned in places and marked. All this was recorded by GPS in order for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to produce new accurate maps. All lines have been trimmed and checked, and signage cleaned.
Rat tracking with trakka cards and possum monitoring with wax tags was carried out early in November. The rat tracking showed a mean tracking rate of 31% which is the lowest prebaiting result since records began in 2004. Possum numbers with the wax tag bite marks gave a result of 29% bitten by either possum or wallaby – it is impossible to distinguish the bites between the two. No finite comparison between the wax tag index and the previous residual trap catch method has been developed; however Dale Williams of Bay of Plenty Regional Council considers this a satisfactory result given that a possum or wallaby appears to play with the tags and probably bites more than one.
Allan Andresen (a possum trapper) obtained a permit from the Department of Conservation to work in the area and kindly dispatched 73 possums and 63 rats which certainly helped our results and the bird life and foliage. Our thanks to him.
Bird counts have been completed and the results are to be compiled.
Our thanks to Doc and BOPRC for their support and guidance during the year. To the volunteers who have been involved during the year – our sincere thanks. There would be no project without you.
For further details about the project and how you may help, please contact:
Frances and James Blakely
Ph 362 8480.