A rat in trap is one less in the bush
Karangahake School is nestled among native bush high up in the Karangahake Gorge and where there’s bush there’s rats.
As part of Conservation Week students from Karangahake learnt about protecting native birds from predators and have put a few of the ideas into action with great results.
Teacher Sabine Hartmann said Karangahake School is lucky to have many native birds on the school grounds which are situated close to conservation land.
‘‘I often have a kereru (wood pigeon) sitting in the tree right outside my classroom window,’’ she said.
Students learned about the main threats to native birds which are habitat loss and pests, including rats.
Hartmann said they invited Brian Habberfield from the Predator Free Hauraki Coromandel Trust to come and tell the them about different pest traps and bait stations.
‘‘The kids got really excited about wanting to do their bit to help the native bird population.’’
They made tracking tunnels out of cardboard, paper and ink and put them in places where they thought there were pests.
Student Charlotte Wright, 9, said in the morning when they were checked there were mostly mouse and rat tracks.
Student Ahuwera Taukiri,8, said since Conservation Week traps have been put out every day to catch rats.
‘‘New Zealand was perfect before the pests came, now we are trapping pests to save hundreds of native birds, because rats can have up to 15,000 babies [descendants] every year.’’
Hartmann said during one two-week period the trap killed six rats.
‘‘They get buried in the veggie garden, it will be interesting to see if the tomatoes grow even better this year,’’ she said.
Karangahake School students learn all about trapping predators.