Traps help protect kiwi, kea
Retirement home residents build predator traps for remote valley
Residents of three Canterbury retirement villages have helped build more than 200 predator traps, to help protect kiwi and kea in a remote high-country valley.
Lynn Andrews, a resident at the Charles Upham Retirement Village in Rangiora, started making traps for the Department of Conservation more than two years ago.
Now two other Ryman Healthcare-operated villages in Christchurch have joined the crusade, and have partnered with charity Doubtless Conservation.
The three retirement villages have just finished building 200 wooden trap housings to help get rid of stoats and rats in the remote Doubtful Valley, in the Canterbury high country.
Doubtful Conservation chairperson George Moran said the new traps would be installed across the valley in mid-May, weather permitting.
He and other volunteers had already mapped out where they would go, and they would need to be checked monthly.
Moran said he had heard roroa – or great spotted kiwi – in the valley, and said parts of the river would be an ideal environment for whio (blue duck).
There are thought to be fewer than 3000 whio left nationwide. The birds only liked to live in clean waterways, and were an indicator species for waterway health.
Kea were present in the valley too, but had ‘‘suffered enormously’’ from stoat predation, with all monitored kea in the area being lost to the voracious predator in the last few years.
Moran said the new traps would complement trap lines laid in the neighbouring Nina Valley.
‘‘These valleys are connected by a low saddle and by a river valley . . . So the idea is to enlarge the area under protection.’’
Andrews, still a resident at Charles Upham village, said the
‘‘I got six men who put their hand up and said ‘yep, I’d like to be part of that’.’’ John Hindle
trap mechanisms were housed in wooden boxes, which had mesh to stop birds like kea nosing about.
The former watchmaker and woodwork enthusiast had been sharing his expertise with the other Ryman villages, and said he kept all information about different sizes and styles of wooden trap housings, ‘‘at hand and also written down’’.
John Hindle, of Aidanfield’s Anthony Wilding village, and Gary Archbold, of Mairehau’s Diana Isaac, said the project had attracted ‘‘handy’’ residents from their respective villages.
Both were building 70 trap housings apiece.
Hindle said when he first floated the traps idea to Anthony Wilding residents, he got a positive response.
‘‘I got six men who put their hand up and said ‘yep, I’d like to be part of that’.’’