Volunteer groups have banded together to deliver hundreds of traps to crack down on predators in Mahurangi West.
Warkworth Men’s Shed this month completed construction of 250 traps for the project. Materials were funded by the Mahu Community Trading Post, prior to its closure, and the Warkworth Community Shop.
The traps will be distributed and maintained by Mahu West Pest – a group of landowners who are seeking to eradicate predators from around 2100ha of land in Mahurangi West.
Spokesperson Brian Bramell, who drew the organisations together to support the common cause, says Mahu West Pest currently maintains around 600 traps, so the additional ones built by the Men’s Shed represents a substantial increase.
Moreover, more landowners are hoping to join the Mahu West Pest programme, meaning it will likely soon extend its activities into an additional 500ha.
Brian says Mahu West Pest was formed around two-and-a-half years ago, but only really started trapping in earnest in the last six months. Previously, it spent about two years working with Auckland Council to develop appropriate biodiversity plans.
But he says in the last six months, Mahu West Pest has successfully trapped hundreds of rats, stoats and possums, and this with only a fraction of the traps it hopes ultimately to have set in the area.
Brian says trapping has been so successful in the immediate vicinity around his own property that he now seldom catches predators and the bird life has exploded.
“I talk to some people who say they have not seen a wood pigeon (kereru) for a while, but I routinely see around 10 of them just on my own property,” he says.
He adds that puriri trees that were formerly all but destroyed by possums are now thriving and appear as lush and beautiful as one could hope for.