The “protection” part of our three pronged strategy – protection, restoration and education – is our ongoing pest control regime run by volunteers. It consists of traps (checked fortnightly) and bait stations (on a 100 m x 50 meter grid) with PestOff (rat and possum bait) in little bags, which we replenish quarterly. Since 2019 we’ve been recording how much has been eaten at each station, and our talented volunteer Stefan Marks has turned that data into maps, and those maps into a video (below). The picture above shows the latest uptake from the December 2021 to early January 2022 baiting round: if no bait has been taken it shows up as a green dot all the way via yellow to orange to red, when it has all been eaten. Obviously, the more green the better, as long as that means the rats are actually still eating the bait and not avoiding it. To find out the answer to that question, we work with Auckland Zoo who do our rat monitoring: they put out tracking tunnels with peanut butter and an ink pad: any rats will leave their footprints behind for us to find the next day. Luckily the past years those rat monitoring results have been in line with our bait uptake results, showing less and less rats in Matuku Link and neighbouring Forest and Bird Matuku Reserve. We’ll never eradicate rats completely by trapping and baiting, because they keep reinvading from the properties around us. But at least we can keep their numbers as low as possible.
If you’ve got any questions, or would like to do some predator control at your place, please get in touch – if we all do our bit, we are all helping our birds! Contact me via email or phone 0212207136.
Nga mihi nui, Annalily