An upsurge in possum numbers at Dunn’s Bush Reserve near Puhoi has prompted The Forest Bridge Trust to appeal for more volunteers to trap the pests and other predators.
Forest Bridge spokesperson, Liz Maire of Manly, says Covid-19 hindered pest eradication efforts as trappers were unable to continue their work during the lockdown imposed by Covid-19.
She adds that the colder months are an excellent time for trapping as food is more scarce and hungry pests are more attracted to bait in traps.
The trust says volunteer trappers have caught more than 200 pests, including more than 100 possums and dozens of rats, over the last 18 months in Dunn’s Bush – a 100ha reserve, which is located 7km north-west of Puhoi.
But Liz says pest re-invasions and other demands on trappers’ lives means there is a need to boost the number of volunteer trappers.
“The goal of a predator-free New Zealand by 2050 can’t be achieved without small local projects like these,” she says.
Liz says trapping can be done by young and old. A family, for example, could volunteer to manage one or more trap lines.
Volunteer trappers need to be reasonably fit to attend to lines off the beaten track and have about four hours a month to devote to trapping. Trappers must also be comfortable dealing with dead pests.
For those not so fit or uncomfortable dealing with dead animals, volunteer coordination roles are available.
Liz says benefits include free training, exercising with a purpose, being allowed off track in a beautiful area of native bush and being part of a team effort for a worthwhile conservation project.
“Dunn’s Bush is classified as a Biodiversity Focus Area by Auckland Council – basically it means it’s a really special place,” she says.
Dunn’s Bush was gifted to the QEII Trust in 1994 by conservationists Arthur and Val Dunn.
The bush contains a diverse range of native plants from large trees such as kauri, puriri, taraire and groves of nikau palms, to small native orchids and ferns, and everything in between. The bush is also an important refuge for native wildlife, including birds, invertebrates and reptiles.
To volunteer, contact Liz Maire on 012 234 0831 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org