Public take on pests
Hundreds of possums and rodents caught at Waikowhai Reserve are no killing trees, and a group of committed volunteers wants to keep it that way.
Conservation Volunteers New Zealand is holding a pest control training session this Saturday at the reserve – to get the upper hand on possum and rodent numbers in Auckland parks.
More than 400 possums have been caught in Waikowhai Reserve alone since the Auckland Parks Volunteer Predator Control Programme began in 2004.
Hillsborough volunteer Mike Edgington wants to make sure work continues to make parks and reserves pest-free.
‘‘The more people that understand the damage these animals do to native wildlife the more able we are to protect our parks,’’ he says.
Mr Edgington hopes the programme will spread to other parks, including Hillsborough’s reserves which have a large predator problem, he says.
Conservation Volunteers project co-ordinator Clair Hobi says volunteers have made a huge impact on native wildlife by reducing pest numbers.
‘‘ . . . possums will simply eat a tree to death, returning again and again for any new growth.
‘‘Those 400 possums would be responsible for eating around 44 tonnes of food each year.’’
In the programme, in partner- ship with Auckland Council, 120 volunteers in 11 parks check a trap line at a time and frequency that suits them.
Volunteers walk for up to 11⁄ hours along their line of traps.
On Saturday, volunteers will learn all aspects of predator control, including equipment demonstrations and safety measures.
Once trained, volunteers can be rostered on to check a trap line at parks all over Auckland, including Mt Eden, Roy Clements Treeway and Waikowhai Reserve.
Phone 0800 567 686 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a place for the session. Bookings are essential.
Pest: Training sessions are operating in Waikowhai Reserve this Saturday to recruit volunteers to help control possums and rodents which are destroying native wildlife.