Van­dals sab­o­tage Pic­ton pest traps


A con­ser­va­tion group has been tar­geted by van­dals who sab­o­taged traps laid out to pro­tect na­tive birds from preda­tors.

Pic­ton Dawn Cho­rus vol­un­teers are up­set at the at­tack which left 13 traps missing or out of ac­tion after be­ing tossed into a nearby stream.

Vol­un­teers face the ar­du­ous task of re­set­ting the en­tire line of $30 traps along Es­sons Val­ley in Pic­ton.

Project co-or­di­na­tor Siobain Brown­ing says mem­bers are dis­ap­pointed by the van­dal­ism which was re­ported to po­lice after it was dis­cov­ered last month.

How­ever, she stressed group mem­bers would con­tinue in their ef­forts to ‘‘pro­tect and en­hance’’ lo­cal wildlife.

‘‘Mem­bers felt dis­ap­point­ment and frus­tra­tion, but also a strong de­ter­mi­na­tion to con­tinue in our ef­forts.

‘‘We are all do­ing this be­cause we feel pas­sion­ate about our na­tive wildlife and we want to see more birds in our parks and gar­dens. We hope that our ef­forts will ben­e­fit the whole com­mu­nity and make Pic­ton and Waikawa an even more spe­cial place.

‘‘Vol­un­teers are giv­ing up a lot of

‘‘Vol­un­teers have al­ready con­trib­uted about 60 hours just on Es­sons Val­ley.’’

their time and putting a lot of ef­fort in to im­prov­ing the en­vi­ron­ment in Pic­ton.

‘‘It al­ready feels like we have a big job ahead and hav­ing our work in­ten­tion­ally sab­o­taged is mak­ing this job even big­ger. ‘‘

Dawn Cho­rus mem­bers have worked hard to­wards achiev­ing their goal of mak­ing Pic­ton the first preda­tor-free town in New Zealand.

Siobain says as well as the cost in­volved in re­plac­ing or fix­ing the traps, mem­bers had also given up a lot of time to help.

‘‘A lot of ad­di­tional time has gone in to putting out the lo­ca­tion mark­ers and plac­ing the traps and then the reg­u­lar check­ing and main­te­nance of the traps.

‘‘Vol­un­teers have al­ready con­trib­uted about 60 hours just on Es­sons Val­ley since we started trap­ping there in Fe­bru­ary.’’

The present tally of re­moved preda­tors is 237 rats, 177 mice, 18 pos­sums and one weasel.

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