Trust teams with Lincoln to kill predators
Focus on reducing labour, refining toxins
Private conservation initiative Forest Lifeforce Restoration (FLR) Trust has teamed up with Lincoln University’s Centre for Wildlife Management and Conservation (CWMC) in a $160,000 drive to improve the effectiveness of trapping and poisoning systems targeting stoats, ferrets, weasels and rats.
The Ministry of Science and Innovation is funding half the cost of the exercise. The FLR Trust is 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.
“We’ve had a lot of input from right across the New Zealand conservation sector so we’re keen now for the CWMC to test the ideas and let us know what they feel the most viable options would be,” said Hall.
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 currently under way. The next phase of the research will focus on the most effective killing mechanism once the animals have been trapped.
Broad-scale, effective mustelid control is the next big issue for mainland conservation in New Zealand, Hall said.
“A lot of money has been spent fairly recently on finding ways to deal effectively with mustelids so there are quite a few designs and 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.”