Minimizing risk of spreading kauri dieback while protecting native lizards in Greenhithe

Trapping projects can require a lot of feet on the ground trekking through our native forests – which in some areas with kauri trees can increase the risk of spreading the kauri dieback pathogen. How can New Zealanders trap in forests with kauri while minimizing this risk?

The Greenhithe Community Trust, in Auckland, asked the same question when they realized they had a predator problem in the reserves in their community. That’s when we came to the party with our A24 rat traps, designed to reduce trap checking requirements to only twice a year – down from monthly checks with single-use traps.

Following the south coast of Greenhithe down Hellyers/Oruamo Creek lies 140 hectares of a half-private half-public native forest that boasts kahikatea and kauri trees as well as native species like the copper skink, ornate skink, green gecko and forest gecko.

The Greenhithe Community Trust set about researching ways they could remove predators in the forest while having minimal negative impact on the species that were surviving in there. Toxins were not an option in the multi-use land area they were covering, and single-use traps required too much manpower to sustainably maintain.

Greenhithe Community Trust pest free project co-coordinator Richard Chambers says the automatic resetting nature of Goodnature traps will be a huge benefit for the project on an ongoing basis.

“There is huge community commitment across Greenhithe to see this important ecological area preserved. Because Goodnature traps are self-resetting and only need to be serviced and re-lured twice a year, they are perfect for use in difficult to access terrain like the forested escarpment along the south coast,” he says.

“The low maintenance needed for the traps is also paramount in keeping foot traffic minimal, and therefore reducing the chances of introducing other problems into the area, like kauri dieback disease.”

We sent up Adam Cording from our Wellington team to help deploy the 200 traps that the Trust purchased to lay them out across the Redfern Reserve, Taihinui Historical Reserve, Hellyers Esplanade Reserve and, with owner permission, in some adjacent private properties.

The Trust is now looking to recruit more landowners in the area to get them on board with the trapping mission, to provide constant control of rat populations across the greater Greenhithe area, in a bid to protect our native species found across the different land types.

Almost half of New Zealand’s native skinks and geckos are threatened or endangered, so providing protection for these species is massively important to preserving our biodiversity. Kauri trees are also considered a threatened species, so we’re glad our traps can play a role in protecting both native flora and fauna.

Want to hear more? Check out this story from TVNZ:

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/community-action-sees-more-than-200-predator-traps-laid-in-auckland-bush-bid-protect-native-birds

Keen to get involved and help the Greenhithe Community Trust? Check out their website: https://greenhithecommunitytrust.org.nz

Photo credit: Department of Conservation.