Pest control is an important aspect of the Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust’s activity. It’s a highly resource-intensive process, yet incredibly important to protecting and enhancing the native flora and fauna and helping to expand the populations of the various endangered species we have there.
Pohokura was the site of the first large-scale experiment in New Zealand to test deer repellent bait developed jointly by EPRO and Landcare Research.
In mid-2007 we were approached by Landcare Research / Manaaki Whenua about taking part in a pest control experiment at Lake McKerrow. The objective was to investigate the efficacy of a range of possum and rat control methods, and to assess the rate of reinvasion relating to each.
Lake McKerrow is an ideal site for this type of work as the lake itself ensures that reinvasion can happen only from the control area.
Ferrets, Stoats and Rats
We believe broad-scale, effective mustelid control is the next big issue for mainland conservation in New Zealand. A lot of money has been spent fairly recently on finding ways to deal effectively with these pests so there are quite a few trap designs and killing solutions in use at the moment. Most are still fairly labour intensive, however, and few are as reliable and effective as conservationists would like them to be.
So we’ve teamed up with Lincoln University’s Centre for Wildlife Management and Conservation (CWMC) to improve the effectiveness of trapping and poisoning systems targeting stoats, ferrets, weasels and rats.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is funding half the cost of the exercise and we’re funding the other half.
Trials are underway at the CWMC of several prototypes of self-setting traps, killing mechanisms and poison application devices. These have all been developed by the Trust’s staff and contractors and are developments on, or modifications of, existing techniques and designs favoured by the Department of Conservation.
Three prototypes have so far proved 100 percent successful in trapping rats, notorious for their ability to escape or evade trapping. Stoat trapping trials are underway. The next phase of the research will focus on the most effective killing mechanism once the animals have been trapped.
© Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust.