Pris­oner pest traps sav­ing birds

Clutha Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - MARY-JO TO­HILL

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.

SUPPLIED

For­est & Bird’s Jorge Cais­a­banda, Fran­cie Beggs and Roy John­stone back­pack­ing pest traps.

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