Creek vol­un­teers in mouse con­trol move

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By CAMP­BELL TH­WAITES

Vol­un­teers at Oak­ley Creek are do­ing their best to keep ro­dents un­der con­trol.

Chair­per­son of the Friends of Oak­ley Creek group Wendy John says the area is a place of wilder­ness for Cen­tral Auck­lan­ders to en­joy but ro­dents can cause a wide range of is­sues there.

‘‘They eat lots of na­tive in­ver­te­brates, they eat birds’ eggs, they eat baby birds, they can spread dis­ease,’’ John says.

‘‘We’ve been do­ing ro­dent con­trol since 2009, so nearly five years and the rat num­bers are well down but mice are much more of a prob­lem to get rid of and mice num­bers are ac­tu­ally sta­ble or in­creas­ing slightly.

‘‘It’s a bit like when the cat’s away the rats play and when the rats are away the mice play. The rats help to keep the mice un­der con­trol as well,’’ she says.

The group puts bait out four times a year for a few weeks.

‘‘We put the bait out last week and we top it up this week and then we take it away next week so we are min­imis­ing the amount of time that the bait can be out in the en­vi­ron­ment,’’ she says.

‘‘We’re try­ing to find ways to min­imise the amount of bait we use and also to max­imise the ef­fec­tive­ness, so we are con­stantly re­view­ing the way we do things.’’

Vol­un­teer John Dwyer has been in­volved with ro­dent con­trol at Oak­ley Creek since 2009.

He says it is very dif­fi­cult to get rid of mice and some other re­serves do not even bother try­ing to con­trol them.

But the cen­tral city lo­ca­tion of Oak­ley Creek makes it valu­able.

‘‘Ba­si­cally it runs through the cen­tre of sub­ur­bia, and I think for its ba­sic po­ten­tial it could be a fu­ture bio­di­ver­sity mecca,’’ he says.

Oak­ley Creek runs through Water­view, Avon­dale, Mt Al­bert, Mt Roskill and Hills­bor­ough.

Mr Dwyer says if scout groups, lo­cal com­mu­nity groups and Unitec all got to­gether to help out at Oak­ley Creek, it could be a ‘‘lit­tle gem’’.

See oak­l­ey­creek.org.nz for more in­for­ma­tion on the group.

- Camp­bell Th­waites is an AUT jour­nal­ism stu­dent

Bait trap: Vol­un­teer John Dwyer lays bait at Oak­ley Creek to help keep the ro­dent pop­u­la­tion un­der con­trol.

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