The regular checking of traps for pest animals such as rats and possums has been suspended by Hibiscus Coast Forest & Bird, Pest Free Hibiscus Coast and Shakespear Open Sanctuary for at least the next month while the country is in Covid-19 lockdown.
As many traps as possible were loaded with bait before the lockdown.
Normally volunteers check all traps regularly, removing any dead pest animals and re-baiting the traps.
Although volunteers who check the traps generally work by themselves and wear protective gloves, Auckland Council has advised that there is a health risk posed by trap boxes that have been touched by others. The virus can survive on surfaces including trap boxes and bait stations.
The other main issue raised by Council was that if someone was injured doing the trapline work, they may have to draw on already stretched healthcare resources.
Many volunteers are also in the over-60 age bracket and so are already taking extra precautions.
Hibiscus Coast Forest & Bird stresses that any risk of transmission of the virus is too much. “Our volunteers contribute over 5000 hours per year to the Pest Free Hibiscus Coast project, and are so important to us. If you have your own backyard/garden trap or bait station, freshen that bait and set your trap regularly.”
All volunteering has also ceased at Shakespear Open Sanctuary and the pest proof fence is locked closed.
Whangaparaoa Community Patrol advises that Shakespear Regional Park is closed to all vehicles and all the facilities/toilets are locked. There is pedestrian access only, so you can walk there for exercise if you live nearby.
“Also remember we should be exercising in our immediate neighbourhood only so let’s keep the cars off the road and stick to foot traffic only and remember to keep a 2 metre distance from others outside of your ‘bubble’,” the Community Patrol advises.