Early data has revealed that the new trap library launched by Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc (ESAI) is already making a significant dent in the local pest population.
The trap library is part of ESAI’s Tinaku project and in the first three months has already removed 83 rats, 36 possums, 24 hedgehogs, a weasel, a stoat and some mice from Ellesmere farms.
The automatic AT220 traps have proven to be hugely effective, with one single trap removing 15 possums from Ian Lochhead’s farm.
Lochhead says that the trap has been working well in three different locations on his property. “The trap is easy to use and the app keeps track of the number of kills, it’s been very effective so far.”
Project Tinaku trap library coordinator Jo Fearn says that the traps have been so successful that they have extended the loan period for a few more months.
“They are obviously working well. We still have traps in stock and ready to be put out, so if you are keen to give them a go get in touch with us,” says Fearn.
Currently, 83 traps are on loan with farmers across the Ellesmere area, with some guidance from Tinaku’s Tom Hilston, who has set many of the traps and checks them regularly.
Hilston is also heavily involved in planting projects alongside local lowland waterways so has focused his traps around those restoration sites to protect wildlife and plants in those key areas.
He has been using an irresistible combination of dried rabbit, peanut butter and eggs to attract the pests, as well as specialised possum bait and visual flour/cinnamon mix to entice the possums.
Fearn says that the library is also grateful for the support from experienced trapper Dave Tilson who is well known in the district for his pest control efforts. Dave has traps out around his property, as well as five neighbouring farms.
The ESAI trap library launched in September last year with a workshop and information day. ESAI partnered with Pest Free Banks Peninsula (PFBP) to raise awareness of pest problems in the area and to try and encourage local farmers to get on board with pest control. ESAI and PFBP are hoping to work together again in the coming months to offer another pest trapping workshop in the Ellesmere area.
PFBP aims to create a pest-free buffer around the Taumutu area to minimise pests moving along Kaitoreti Spit to reinfest Banks Peninsula.
The trap library includes DOC250 traps, designed to kill a range of predators from rats to ferrets, Trapinators to target possums, and the new AT220s which are auto traps for possums, rats and mice.
Any farmer who wants to reduce pest species in the Leeston area and surrounds by placing out traps, can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0210 304 783 for more information. Advice and a safety demonstration will be provided for anyone wanting to borrow traps.