Pest free Taupo¯ by 2050
Anyone can be a rat catcher.
That is the message from a new group that aims to get every household in the greater Taupo¯ area trapping things like rats, mustelids and possums.
Predator Free Taupo¯ is an extension of the group Greening Taupo¯ and was set up in June with the goal of making Taupo¯ free of pests and predators by 2050.
Committee member Robyn Ellis was already impressed by the amount of interest shown by locals.
‘‘We can see how keen the community are, so we’ve been working hard to create opportunities for people to learn and get involved.’’
Its most recent projects include a backyard trapping project in Acacia Bay and an extensive pest trapping project at Opepe Reserve that will be run by volunteers. Other projects include the Waipahihi Gully Restoration and the Waikato River Corridor from Control Gates Bridge to Aratiatia.
Volunteers have been taught the ins and outs of starting a predator control programme. They are taught how to use GPS to position and find traps, how to set lures, and safe setting techniques for the traps.
Volunteers are often tasked with projects close to home like trapping rats.
The Department of Conservation [DOC] supports the groups with traps, training and projects.
DOC Central Plateau Operations Manager Dave Lumley said research showed that the vast majority of New Zealanders (85 per cent) rated conservation as important to them personally.
‘‘Yet still only about one in ten have actively helped on a conservation project.’’
‘‘With a variety of projects around Lake Taupo¯ we’re hoping to see more locals get involved in Predator Free efforts – even a simple rat trap in your backyard will make a difference.’’
The latest mission for volunteers is at Opepe Bush Historic Reserve which is 15 minutes drive from Taupo, on the Taupo¯ Napier Road. It has two easy loop tracks, making it popular with families and dog walkers [dogs must be on a leash].
It is also a good example of a mature podocarp forest, close to town, where people can see large rimu and matai, and a range of native bird species.
Volunteers from Predator Free Taupo¯ , Forest & Bird members and DOC rangers prepare to set traps at Opepe Reserve.