Creek volunteers in mouse control move
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.