Morere a big step closer to becoming predator-free

LEARNING THE TRADE: Campion College student Kane Smith helped out with installing the self-resetting Goodnature rat and stoat traps at Morere Springs Scenic Reserve. Kane had developed a special interest in conservation work and was volunteering as part of a school programme. Picture supplied
FUTURE OF PEST CONTROL: One of 150 self-resetting A24 Goodnature rat and stoat traps installed at Morere Springs Scenic Reserve, and one of its victims. Picture by Liam Clayton
THEY WON’T LAST LONG: Morere Hot Springs leasee Paul Hohipa said the self-resetting traps had already been highly effective at killing rats and stoats. Picture by Liam Clayton

ONE of Gisborne’s most treasured areas of native rainforest has received a major boost in protection from rats and stoats.

Among the bountiful nikau palms at Morere Springs Scenic Reserve, a team of Department of Conservation (DoC) staff, pest trappers and volunteers installed 150 self-resetting traps over a three-day period.

The Goodnature A24 traps were installed at a rate of two per hectare, covering 75ha of the 364ha DoC reserve at a cost of $19,000.

Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Paul Roper said it was the only landscape scale use of these self-setting traps on the East Coast.

“Morere is one of the most visited places on the East Coast and we want to provide the public the best nature experience possible.”

The self-setting traps are not only more effective than conventional traps but require less labour.

Rats and stoats are attracted to the trap by a long-life lure.

Once inside the trap the animal knocks a wire, releasing a C02-powered plastic bolt, striking the animal in the head and killing it instantly.

The trap can reset itself up to 24 times per CO2 canister, hence the name A24.

The dead animals are left to decompose or are scavenged by other species.

The traps only need to be checked and serviced every six months, whereas conventional traps require monthly servicing.

Mr Roper said as the traps could be installed and serviced with little training, they were great for volunteers and community groups.

Predator Free 2050

“It is a chance to showcase the type of technology that can help to reach the Predator Free 2050 goal.

“Our plan is to have the entire Morere Springs Scenic Reserve kitted out with Goodnature traps.”

DoC also carries out ongoing possum control in the reserve as part of its responsibilities under the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Pest Management Strategy.

Goodnature technician Sam Gibson, who assisted with the installation, said the traps provided non-toxic, humane and constant predator control.

The installation was designed to reduce the number of rats and stoats and then maintain the low levels.

In the first one to two months, there would be a high number of kills, reducing the population to about two percent of the original level.

The service each six months was to ensure the gas had not run out.

“The idea is that the traps are working all of the time,” Mr Gibson said.

While the Morere project was small compared to some others around the country, it was large enough to be ecologically beneficial and increase the biodiversity in the reserve.

“It is a fantastic project,” Mr Gibson said.

“I can’t wait to be able to sit in the hot springs and hear kiwi and kaka all around.”

Paul Hohipa, who leases the hot springs with his wife Wendy Gibb, said the traps had already been effective.

“They are bloody great. We had instant success and every time I go past one of the traps there are dead rats.”

Mr Hohipa has spent years hunting and trapping pest animals, and is supportive of the new trapping system.

“I love the technology. Rats eat the eggs of bird chicks and, what many people may not realise, as soon as the seeds come out of plants and trees they eat them too.

“If we don’t do something, they will take out the whole bush.”

The increased predator control meant great things for the future of the reserve.

“It is good to see kereru and tui coming back now. They had been struggling, but this will help them.

“There is going to be some amazing bird song here.”

ONE of Gisborne’s most treasured areas of native rainforest has received a major boost in protection from rats and stoats.

Among the bountiful nikau palms at Morere Springs Scenic Reserve, a team of Department of Conservation (DoC) staff, pest trappers and volunteers installed 150 self-resetting traps over a three-day period.

The Goodnature A24 traps were installed at a rate of two per hectare, covering 75ha of the 364ha DoC reserve at a cost of $19,000.

Department of Conservation (DoC) ranger Paul Roper said it was the only landscape scale use of these self-setting traps on the East Coast.

“Morere is one of the most visited places on the East Coast and we want to provide the public the best nature experience possible.”

The self-setting traps are not only more effective than conventional traps but require less labour.

Rats and stoats are attracted to the trap by a long-life lure.

Once inside the trap the animal knocks a wire, releasing a C02-powered plastic bolt, striking the animal in the head and killing it instantly.

The trap can reset itself up to 24 times per CO2 canister, hence the name A24.

The dead animals are left to decompose or are scavenged by other species.

The traps only need to be checked and serviced every six months, whereas conventional traps require monthly servicing.

Mr Roper said as the traps could be installed and serviced with little training, they were great for volunteers and community groups.

Predator Free 2050

“It is a chance to showcase the type of technology that can help to reach the Predator Free 2050 goal.

“Our plan is to have the entire Morere Springs Scenic Reserve kitted out with Goodnature traps.”

DoC also carries out ongoing possum control in the reserve as part of its responsibilities under the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Pest Management Strategy.

Goodnature technician Sam Gibson, who assisted with the installation, said the traps provided non-toxic, humane and constant predator control.

The installation was designed to reduce the number of rats and stoats and then maintain the low levels.

In the first one to two months, there would be a high number of kills, reducing the population to about two percent of the original level.

The service each six months was to ensure the gas had not run out.

“The idea is that the traps are working all of the time,” Mr Gibson said.

While the Morere project was small compared to some others around the country, it was large enough to be ecologically beneficial and increase the biodiversity in the reserve.

“It is a fantastic project,” Mr Gibson said.

“I can’t wait to be able to sit in the hot springs and hear kiwi and kaka all around.”

Paul Hohipa, who leases the hot springs with his wife Wendy Gibb, said the traps had already been effective.

“They are bloody great. We had instant success and every time I go past one of the traps there are dead rats.”

Mr Hohipa has spent years hunting and trapping pest animals, and is supportive of the new trapping system.

“I love the technology. Rats eat the eggs of bird chicks and, what many people may not realise, as soon as the seeds come out of plants and trees they eat them too.

“If we don’t do something, they will take out the whole bush.”

The increased predator control meant great things for the future of the reserve.

“It is good to see kereru and tui coming back now. They had been struggling, but this will help them.

“There is going to be some amazing bird song here.”

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Roger May - 2 months ago
I always thought Morere was in the Hawke's Bay district.

Footnote from Ed: Yes, it is. It's also close to Gisborne and a regular destination for Gisborne people.

Josh Waaka - 2 months ago
World famous in Gisborne Mr Gibson XD

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