News From the Predator Control Team, January 2022

Kia Ora from the TFBT predator control team.

We are delighted to have added 2 new staff to our team in recent months. Welcome to Eliane and David- much needed extra hands and skills. We have also increased what we can achieve on the hill by adding “Sam”, the Polaris ATV to the team late last year, saving our backs and legs!! The recent Covid lockdown created delays in predator control roll out, however the team have worked hard during the last months to catch up. 161 mustelid traps were deployed in the field since early October.

Ongoing impacts from Covid have been especially disruptive for the participation of the community volunteers, as training sessions and community workshops could not be held. However, our Community Liaison team worked hard to keep communication going and to support community motivation. Thankfully, our volunteers are a resilient and patient bunch, and several training sessions have been organised for early 2022.

Our work over the last few months has focused on continuing to expand the trap network out from Mount Tamahunga, Greens Road and Matakana East, in readiness for the kiwi translocation to the area coming in a few short months.

As a result, the Tamahunga buffer zone roll out is still on schedule, with approximately 2100 Ha total in active predator control (Core plus buffer) and another 750 Ha already well on the way with traplines in the process of being rolled out, and/or training for volunteers or land owners being organised. For this quarter, 132 mustelid traps of 161 deployed were in the Tamahunga buffer zone.

Along with the traps, we have installed more than 30 trail cameras along the lines and are very grateful for the help of volunteers to collect and swap over SD cards. This detection / quick response surveillance strengthens our potential to “deal” to predators that are reluctant to be trapped, as it allows us additional ways to know of their presence, and then follow up with targeted efforts. The trail cams are already proving invaluable in showing us what predators are out there, as well as providing some great short clips of footage which we have added to our website video gallery.

Creating the GIS mapping for all the new lines and traps, loading new data and traps onto the TrapNZ catch data system, plus revisiting any old lines that needed a refresh has kept Brenda and Charlie, our GIS and data team, really busy. Having reliable information about our trap locations, site information and catch data is important for TFBT, and also for others who may be working alongside us. The data also contributes to a national picture of predator control, so thanks to all the groups and individuals who do send their catch info in to us. Our move to ArcGIS late last year thanks to new conservation group license has been great and is enabling us to combine a wide variety of location information to support our predator control, ecology and conservation planning.

Cam, Eliane, David, Charlie and Brenda