A plan to rid Snells Beach of pests has been boosted by a $2500 grant from the Predator Free New Zealand Trust.
Snells Shoreline Conservation Community will use the money to buy traps, which it intends to distribute to householders, initially between the beach and Mahurangi East Road. This will start towards the end of next month.
The group formed just over a year ago to rid the beach area of rats, mice and mustelids to help protect and improve the Snells Beach ecosystem, particularly for native birds.
Co-founder Alan France says one householder has caught 25 rats in three months, which demonstrates the need for the programme.
The group would like to see one trap in one of every five backyards in the neighbourhood.
“According to Census data, there are 3400 dwellings in Snells Beach so that amounts to nearly 750 traps, so it will be quite an undertaking,” he says.
At $20 to $100 per trap, the latest grant will cover the purchase of about 50 traps. France says traps will be distributed for free, but recipients will be encouraged to give a donation to help fund the purchase of more traps. Initially, the focus will be on protecting the shoreline.
Participants will also be given instruction and information on how to set the traps, health and safety, and recording their catches, and backup support will be provided.
The group is working in conjunction with Restore Rodney East and Auckland Council to target publicly owned land. Possum traps are also being set on larger properties.
The big picture goal is to see a predator free Mahurangi Peninsula.