Pest free Taupo¯ by 2050

Taupo Times - - IS THE BEST FRIENDLY SHOPPING IDEA MEDICINE - TAMARA THORN

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.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

Vol­un­teers from Preda­tor Free Taupo¯ , For­est & Bird mem­bers and DOC rangers pre­pare to set traps at Opepe Re­serve.

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