Kia ora trappers,
Well, the rains finally came as the community planting season got underway, and I know a number of you have been looking at your own properties and planting natives which is wonderful to see.
To protect these plantings, pest control is a crucial step.
As we start to see the back of winter and the days get longer, bird breeding season comes upon us. Birds and their chicks are most vulnerable during nesting time as they sit idle on a nest. With no chicks, there is no young generation in a population, and it creeps closer to extinction.
To protect our local birds, pest control is a crucial step.
We have had some fantastic news with the recent kōkako survey done in the Hūnua Ranges. In 1994 there was just one remaining female amongst 24 male birds. An ambitious goal was set by DoC and Auckland Regional Council under the advice of the National Kōkako Recovery Project to recover the Hūnua population to 50 pairs by 2020. With intensive pest control in the Ranges by volunteers, that goal has been smashed and in 2022 we have 229 pairs in the Kōkako Management Area. So, you see what pest control can do. Properties bordering the Hūnua Ranges have a unique position where they can support the work done in the park by reducing the reinvasion of predators from their properties.
To reinforce the Hūnua Halo protecting the Hūnua Ranges and kōkako, pest control is a crucial step.
In a recent collaboration with Ecoquest, Friends of Te Wairoa contributed to assessment of bat populations in rural/urban areas across Franklin. 15 monitors were placed on properties with suitable habitat across the catchment, and of those, 10 monitors recorded at least one bat passing during the two weeks that the monitors were out in the field. This was surprising and exciting to us. Although we knew that Long Tailed Bats, or pekapeka-tou-roa, existed in the Hūnua Ranges, we didn’t realise that they ventured out quite so far.
To protect the pekapeka-tou-roa that fly and (probably) roost around our properties, pest control is a crucial step.
In 2017 there was an attempt to release kiwi into the Hūnua Ranges. In a tragic turn, this attempt was not successful. The main culprit was predation, predominantly by ferrets. There are hopes to attempt to reintroduce kiwi into the area again in future, but as Senior Ranger of Conservation in Southern Parks, Miranda Bennett says, we will likely only have one more shot at it. If it fails again, there will be no more chances.
For a successful reintroduction of kiwi into the area, pest control is a crucial step.
We have reached the end of the financial year for Auckland Council and final reports are due in, including for my role. I collect the pest catch data from you as property owners through your reporting on trap.nz or via email. I use these to create a picture of what is happening in the area between 1 July and 30 June. This year you have reported more possums, rats, rabbits, mice, ferrets, stoats and hedgehogs trapped than ever before.
For funding of free pest control gear and free advice and support, pest control (and reporting!) is a crucial step.
So in summary, it is time again to refill those bait stations and check those traps before the pests start moving around again in Spring. With the kids and grandkids off on school holidays it is a great opportunity to teach them about bait and trap safety and get them involved. We have plenty of precious taonga species hanging around and hanging on, just. We can give them a chance at respite from predation by doing our bit.
Any final catch tallies up to 30 June need to be sent in ASAP, so that we can put our final data together for that 12 month period. These can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you need any advice or support, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We have the ability to do property visits if you are completely overwhelmed and confused.
You receive these newsletters as you are on the Friends of Te Wairoa mailing list. You may have been to one of our bait and trap days, or been in touch via email. We realise that people shift around a lot and that in the early days we may have included some emails from people outside of our catchment. Check this map (https://predatorfreefranklin.nz/areas/) to see whether you are connected with the right group. If you click on the area where you live you can see what your group is doing and subscribe to their newsletter. At the bottom of this email is a link to unsubscribe if you are no longer in the area or do not wish to receive these emails, which are sent out only five times a year.
Lenny van Heugten
Pest Control Co-ordinator
Friends of Te Wairoa