The fu­ture of pest trap­ping


Na­tive bird con­ser­va­tion could soon be as ac­ces­si­ble as a push no­ti­fi­ca­tion to your phone.

Squawk Squad is an Auck­land busi­ness that plans to use an app to con­nect peo­ple across the coun­try to rat traps.

Each time a trap kills a ro­dent a no­ti­fi­ca­tion is sent to users who have con­trib­uted money the en­ter­prise.

Squawk Squad will use gas pow­ered rat-traps from Welling­ton com­pany Good­na­ture and wire­less sen­sor net­works from Auck­land com­pany En­counter So­lu­tions.

Each trap costs $400. Squawk Squad wants 20 pledgers per trap, each con­tribut­ing $20 through a Kick­starter cam­paign be­gin­ning on May 1.

Pledgers get a push no­ti­fi­ca­tion sent to their phone each time the trap they spon­sor makes a kill.

The con­ser­va­tion tool, which was thought up by Grey Lynn res­i­dent Fraser McConnell and North Shore busi­ness part­ner Alex Han­non, won the so­cial en­ter­prise cat­e­gory in Startup Week­end Auck­land in Novem­ber.

Startup Week­ends are events that hap­pen across the world, where entrepreneurs spend 54 hours shar­ing ideas and build­ing prod­ucts.

Teams go from an idea scrawled on a nap­kin to a work­ing pro­to­type within a sin­gle week­end.

McConnell said Squawk Squad aimed to be the ‘‘gam­i­fi­ca­tion of con­ser­va­tion’’.

Squawk Squad’s app was de­signed to build a wider au­di­ence and fos­ter greater con­ser­va­tion en­gage­ment.

For­est and Bird es­ti­mates 25 mil­lion na­tive birds are killed by in­tro­duced preda­tors ev­ery year.

Those who con­trib­ute to the traps get to see ex­actly where the traps are be­ing de­ployed in sanc­tu­ar­ies.

Each trap can kill 24 rats be­fore its gas can­is­ter needs to be re­set, com­pared to a tra­di­tional trap that needs to be re­set af­ter ev­ery rat.

If the traps do not reach ca­pac­ity they can be left with­out be­ing checked for six months.

Rat corpses pil­ing up was not an is­sue, be­cause other scav­engers tended to take the bod­ies away, Han­non said.

The group is cur­rently tri­alling the prod­uct in Ark in the Park, which is a rain­for­est in Auck­land’s Waitakere Ranges.


Vet­er­ans from the Hibis­cus Coast Com­mu­nity RSA spent the af­ter­noon with res­i­dents from North Haven Hos­pi­tal.


A rat prey­ing on a fan­tail chick.

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