A rat in trap is one less in the bush

Hauraki Herald - - OUT & ABOUT - JILL CLEAVE

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.

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