Forest & Bird’s Pest Free Hibiscus Coast Project reports a significant increase in the number of possums caught by volunteer trappers in the last year.
Project Manager Jenny Hanwell says that the team has introduced new types of trap and is testing new lures such as orange wedges and aniseed spray. Volunteers have trapped 135 possums so far this year, three times more than the previous year.
Volunteer Trevor Sanderson looks after possum traps in the Arran Point area of Millwater. His three traps have taken out 24 possums since last November. He says looking after the trap line gives him the added purpose of contributing to making NZ predator-free, whenever he goes for a walk.
Brush-tailed possums are a serious threat to native forests – one possum can consume three shopping bags full of vegetation each night.
Possums target trees when they are fruiting or flowering, so Spring is an important time to control them as new growth begins on native trees, and the Hibiscus Coast’s 50 bird species are nesting.
Residents may also find that possums cause damage to their citrus trees and flowering shrubs.
Pest Free Hibiscus Coast has a possum trap library for residents wanting to control possums on their property. You can borrow a possum trap for six weeks free of charge. Jenny says one Red Beach resident who rented a trap caught 12 possums on his property backing into the Weiti River.
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Hibiscus Coast Forest & Bird also sells the latest possum traps via their website. All PFHC traps are tree mounted and baited with fruit to ensure they do not pose a threat to domestic pets.