Help Taranaki’s wildlife & native bush – let’s restore Taranaki! Get involved in our large-scale, community project protecting Taranaki wildlife and native bush from the threat of predators.
|Quicklinks:||Urban trapping workshops||Sign-up forms|
You can be involved in different ways, depending on where you live. Follow the links or scroll down for details.
Towards a Predator Free-Taranaki is the first large-scale project in New Zealand aiming to remove introduced predators from a region, restoring the sound and movement of our wildlife and rejuvenating native plants across Taranaki.
It’s about improving our legendary lifestyle and taking Taranaki forward. Get involved and support biodiversity. Based on where you live, you can join either the rural predator programme or urban programme, register to become a volunteer in New Plymouth parks and reserves, get a trap in your back yard, or become a Neighbourhood co-ordinator and facilitate the work in your local community.
Residents in different areas across Taranaki will be contacted by the Taranaki Regional Council as the project rolls out in separate stages.
But if you’d like to make a start now, you can contact us and find out what you can do, depending on whether you live in rural or urban Taranaki.
Get involved now
We need the help of all Taranaki residents to help protect and enhance our birds, lizards, insects, plants and ecosystems. Join Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki and stop rats, possums and mustlelids (stoats, ferrets, weasels) attacking our precious bird life and wreaking havoc on our native environment.
It’s critical we stop them before they cause irreparable damage. If you’d like to help biodiversity and get involved in the project, Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki, register here. We’re starting in the New Plymouth area, Oākura and the Kaitake Range with three different work streams – rural, urban and a zero possum trial.
We’re initially focusing on two of the biggest predators in urban New Plymouth – rats and possums. And to stop predators killing urban wildlife, one in five households needs a rat trap.
New Plymouth residents interested in trapping can attend urban trapping workshops in different suburbs in the coming weeks – see details below.
The Taranaki Regional Council can support you with a range of traps and devices, offering subsidised box-tunnel rat traps that are safe around pets and children for $10. If you’re unsure about using a trap, we will also provide assistance and discuss options you’re comfortable with. Find out more at the free urban trapping workshops:
Urban trapping workshops — New Plymouth
- Sunday 1 July, 1.30pm, Fitzroy Surf Club, Beach St, Fitzroy. Register (external link)
- Sunday 15 July, 1.30pm, Onuku Taipari Domain Hall, 36 Ngamotu Rd, Ngamotu. Register (external link)
- Sunday 29 July, 1.30pm, Frankley School Hall, 357 Tukapa St, Ferndale. Register (external link)
Follow the link to register your interest in attending one of the workshops
More New Plymouth dates will be set after these first workshops.
Other urban areas in Taranaki will be included as the project continues. Please follow the link to register your interest and we'll be in touch when the project comes to your town.
Taranaki schools can also be part of Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki. Principals and teachers should email their school details to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Predator control in rural Taranaki is vital to the success of Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki. It forms a large chunk of the work to ultimately remove predators and prevent re-infestations across the region’s 700,000 hectares. Many landowners and occupiers are already trapping possums and doing an awesome job - dropping numbers to below a 5% residual catch rate (fewer than five possums per 100 traps). But we need to expand this work to restore Taranaki, protecting our native wildlife and bush.
We’re utilising new IOT (Internet Of Things) technology to scale up existing trapping work. Landowners and occupiers around the ring plan will be contacted individually about this. Traps will be subsidised, with the wireless infrastructure fully funded. The new wireless trapping network will notify trappers and the Council of real-time captures and when traps need servicing, allowing more efficient trapping and on a bigger scale. In order to manage the instalment of the infrastructure, the roll-out will be in stages, starting in the rural Waiwhakaiho catchment (between New Plymouth and the mountain) in 2018-2019.
Contractors will place traps along a combination of habitat, races and farm tracks, with a variety of traps to target stoats, ferrets and weasels. Contractors will ensure correct trap placement, density and connect devices to a wireless network and app, helping ensure the overall success of the program.
Residents in the rural Waiwhakiho catchment can expect to be contacted by Council staff from 10 August to discuss the details. Rural residents in other areas around the ring plain will be contacted as different phases of the project start.
Rural trapping technology
This is based on the Celium platform, described as “a very low-power wireless sensor network”. A wireless node is placed on each trap in a network, set to a certain frequency. When a trap is activated, the node sends a signal to a central hub, and this information is then sent via satellite or cell tower to cloud servers. After processing, the data is provided to users through a web portal, email or mobile.
Initially trap checking will be done by a contractor, after one or two checks and testing of the wireless devices it will become the landowner’s responsibility to check and maintain the trapping network on their property.
For the first time in New Zealand, we will be attempting to reduce possum numbers to zero density on farm, urban and conservation land, over about 4500 hectares. We’ll also be aiming to reduce possums to extremely low levels over an adjacent 4000 hectares.
This is the first time a possum control operation of this scale and varying land use and habitat type has been carried out.
Approximately 2500 hectares of this work in Egmont National Park (Block C on map) will be managed in conjunction with the Taranaki Mounga Project and the Department of Conservation.
Possum control in the remaining areas of the treatment area (blocks A, B and D, E & F on attached map) will be managed by the Taranaki Regional Council.
Research and monitoring
Lessons, research and studies from Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki will be shared with the rest of New Zealand, acting as a blueprint, helping other regions advance their predator-free work and achieve the nation’s 2050 goal.
Why do we need to remove predators?
Rats, mustelids (ferrets, weasels, stoats) and possums kill millions of native birds, lizards and invertebrates every year, pushing many species to the brink of extinction. Trying to manage these three predators, in agriculture and conservation areas, costs more than $70 million each year.
Rats have been introduced across the globe by human activities. They threaten the survival of many native species from invertebrates like wētā and snails to lizards and birds, and consequently our ecosystems.
Rats eat almost anything, which makes them a direct threat and in direct competition with native wildlife. They are common agricultural, industrial and domestic pests and cause a lot of economic damage as well as posing a risk to human health.
Mustelids (weasels, stoats and ferrets) since their release into New Zealand in the late 1880 have accelerated the decline of many native species. Today still pose a serious threat to our native animals and the farming industry, and are threatening domestic animals such as chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits. Stoats in particular are the most implicated predator linked to the decline of many of our native animals, including the extinction of a number of bird species.
Ferrets, on the other hand, are a known carrier of Bovine Tb, a disease which threatens our domestic cattle and deer herds, as well as spreading parasites and toxoplasmosis.
We need many Taranaki residents to put traps in their backyards, whether in urban or rural areas – trapping needs to become a common job in your household, just like recycling your waste. We’re working with residents who have never trapped before, or already have traps in their backyard and want more traps.
Check the map to see which area you're in, then select the appropriate form.
Teachers and principals wanting their school to be involved in Towards Predator-Free Taranaki should email email@example.com with their details.