Prisoner pest traps saving birds
The first 100 pest traps built by prisoners at Otago Corrections Facility for Forest & Bird have been laid out by volunteers at Tautuku in the Catlins.
These traps were made as part of the prison’s carpentry and joinery trade training and for the Forest and Bird Tautuku Restoration Project.
The project focuses on reducing introduced predators across lowland coastal native forest and aims to protect native species within the Lenz Reserve.
Otago Corrections Prison acting director Lyndal Miles said the traps were a way for the prisoners to make ‘‘a really meaningful contribution to an important local community organisation and to the environment while learning valuable skills for future employment’’.
‘‘There are lots of opportunities for more boxes to be built at OCF. There are also plenty of opportunities for carpentry trainees to create an environmental legacy by contributing to a project that will make a significant difference to the future of our native flora and fauna, and make their grandchildren proud. It’s another project that ticks all the boxes.’’
Forest and Bird project manager Francesca Cunninghame said the prisoner-made trap boxes were the first traps to go along the Fleming River, where a riparian trapping line was being established.
‘‘We hope to be able to effectively reduce the number of introduced predators along the Fleming catchment, enhancing the populations of native species still present in the area.’’
The focus of Forest & Bird Dunedin, South Otago and South- land branches was to increase predator control and restore local native fauna, she said.
If it proved successful at maintaining predators at very low levels, then future reintroductions of species, now locally extinct, could be possible.
The Tautuku Basin, including the Fleming catchment, is one of the largest areas of New Zealand’s south east coastal native forest still remaining, representing a once widespread habitat that has been greatly reduced since human arrival.
The Tautuku Restoration Project has the long-term aim of establishing predator control over the 6600 hectare combined Tautuku and Fleming catchments. The project was just beginning and trapping would gradually increase over time.
Forest & Bird’s Jorge Caisabanda, Francie Beggs and Roy Johnstone backpacking pest traps.