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Trap library launched to help reduce pests in the Ellesmere

Ellesmere Sustainable Agriculture Inc launched its trap library with a workshop this week to help farmers make a positive contribution to the national Pest Free 2050 goal. 
Several ESAI members have seen an increase in pest species around their farms and indicated that they would like to have access to traps to help reduce pest species numbers, especially around new restoration planting along riparian margins. 
John Williamson from Pest Free Banks Peninsula (PFBP) had also approached ESAI to work together to create a pest-free buffer around the Taumutu area to minimise pests moving along Kaitoreti Spit to reinfest Banks Peninsula. 
ESAI committee member Nigel Greenwood says that the farmers group is keen to work with other groups and organisations to reduce pest numbers in the Ellesmere area. 
“This project will raise awareness of pest species and their impact on our area’s flora and fauna and highlight what individuals can do, as well as providing resources that enable landowners to contribute to pest control efforts,” says Greenwood. 
It is hoped that by encouraging ESAI members to set traps along the waterways feeding Te Waihora, the numbers of pests entering DOC areas will be reduced, providing huge benefits to birds and other wildlife around the lake. 
“Our goal is to protect native species that live in the Ellesmere area, protect food and fibre production, minimise the spread of pest borne diseases and enhance native biodiversity along our waterways, wetland areas and catchments,” says Greenwood, who emphasises that the PFBP aims align perfectly with the ESAI vision and the goals of the trap library project. 
The project has also been an opportunity to strengthen ESAI’s relationship with Ellesmere College by getting Gateway students involved in the project. 
Students Caleb Macdonald, Darcy Tuffnell, Ben Taylor and Jesse Stephens have been busy building the wooden tunnels required for some of the traps, gaining valuable woodworking and building skills, which will help them find future employment 
The four young men were keen to help out with the trap project and were happy to dedicate time to build trap tunnels and support the community project.

Student at Ellesmere College work on the tunnels for the traps.


The ESAI trap library will start with 60 DOC250 traps, which are a kill trap suitable for killing rats, hedgehogs, and mustelids. They will be fitted with a central baffle to reduce the incidence of by-catch like domestic cats and birds. These are a durable trap, have a long service life, and are easy to set and maintain.  
The library will also include 20 Trapinator traps which are kill traps for possums and six AT220 traps, which are an auto-reset kill trap for rats and for possums. This trap provides up to 100 cycles and 12 months between services (bait refill and battery replacement), daylight deactivation mode, data logging, and communication to computer. This is an expensive but highly effective trap.  
At the workshop this week, John Williamson and Tim Sjoberg from PFBP shared the goals of their project and how the ESAI members could contribute.  
They provided background about each pest species, explained correct placement of traps, correct bait to use for each pest and they demonstrated how to set and unset the traps safely. 
ESAI members, and others in the Ellesmere community attended the workshop to learn and took up the opportunity to borrow traps for their properties.  
The trap library coordinator Jo Fearn said that around 20 traps were issued on the day. 
“We encourage other ESAI members to get in touch and take advantage of this awesome opportunity,” said Fearn. 
“If you are not already an ESAI member, we can sign you up and get you started and contribute to reducing pest numbers in the Ellesmere area.” 
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