Urban residents who want to protect their town or city’s unique wildlife and native plants, and remove the threat rats, possums and stoats pose to our native biodiversity, economy and lifestyles, are encouraged to trap in their backyard.
As part of the Towards Predator-Free Taranaki – Taranaki Taku Tūranga project they can buy a subsidised box-tunnel rat trap for their backyard that is child and pet-safe for just $10. They are available from these retailers or from many local schools, who are selling the traps as fundraisers.
The urban project began in New Plymouth and is now expanding into other towns, with the plan to install trapping networks in all the region’s urban areas over the duration of the project.
In some areas, such as Waitara and Opunake, keen local residents have pro-actively started backyard trapping before the project has officially rolled out in their towns. Towards Predator-Free Taranaki has been delighted to support these community-led initiatives.
Schools, community champions and volunteers are taking a lead role in their area’s trapping, helping co-ordinate efforts, or volunteering to monitor traps in nearby public parks and reserves.
The trapping network is ever-expanding, with more than 12,000 traps in backyards and public parks and reserves across the region. The goal is to get one in five households trapping and recording catches on the Trap.NZ website or app.
Recording catches - or the lack of them – on Trap.NZ helps Towards Predator-Free Taranaki monitor predator-control across the region.
There is an active Towards Predator-Free Taranaki Facebook page and local Restore groups, where urban trappers are encouraged to share tips, experiences and knowledge. This is also a great way to find out what’s happening with biodiversity efforts in your area and how you can help. Go to Towards Predator-Free Taranaki on Facebook and search for your neighbourhood’s Restore group, e.g. ‘Restore Bell Block’.
The success of Towards Predator-Free Taranaki will largely depend on the continued efforts and goodwill of both urban and rural residents, caring for their environment and taking Taranaki forward.
If you’re trapping at home, register with the online database Trap.NZ, via its website or app. Then record all your catches and also your trap checks (even when nothing has been caught). This makes Trap.NZ a source of valuable data tracking the region’s efforts and identifying gaps.