Stoat Trapping on the Rangitikei River
“To leave a legacy of an if not pristine, at least an unspoilt natural environment in which we offer our adventures. A natural environment that if possible is healthier than when we started. To do this we have to be agitators, we have to lead by example, we have to care.”
– Brian Megaw
New Zealand, a perfect picture postcard country. Green pasture land, bush clad ranges, spectacular mountain ranges, rivers and lakes. In many ways it all looks so perfect. However, scratch the surface and this picture postcard is not as it seems.
Everywhere you look our natural environment is under threat. Possibly a better way of putting that is our natural environment is under siege. Our native bird and invertebrate life is struggling to survive against waves of introduced predators including Stoats, Weasels, Rats and Cats.
In order to combat this we service 100 stoat traps (kill traps) covering about 20 kms of the Rangitikei River but we need your help! Over the years we’ve realised the importance of involving the community & instilling the same sense of passion for conservation and protection of our environment that continues to drive our efforts forward.
And so, The “River Valley and Pukeokahu Community Stoat Control Project” was born.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT THE PROJECT
The Native Species We Are Helping To Protect.
Meet the pest species we are targeting through our project.
Updated trap locations and data captured.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
The Birth of a Community Conservation Project
We have not as yet come up with a catchy name, so at the moment the project is called “The River Valley and Pukeokahu Community Stoat Control Project”. Bit of a mouthful, so for this article we will simply call it the “The Project”.
The Project started from very humble beginnings back in 2011. However, the desire to give back in a conservation and environmental sense had long been part of our ethos.
Initially we decided we would over a period of time buy a few stoat traps on a regular basis, and starting with the area around the Lodge, we would slowly create a safe haven for native species. We were focused on bringing back native birds, but did not have any particular bird species as a target (though we did see the rare Whio on the river on occasion).
In early 2013 however, the Department of Conservation (DOC) learned what we doing and offered us 100 DOC200 traps in boxes for free. Of course the catch was that we had to lay most of them out, bait and check them each month. A cunning move on the part of DOC as they got a greater area of predator control for very little ongoing cost. I believe these traps were funded through DOCs Whio protection initiatives.
Of the original 100 traps, 30 were laid out on neighbouring properties plus at the local Primary School, to be checked by them, while the balance were either laid out on the banks along the Rangitikei River, both upstream and downstream from River Valley Lodge, or in the surrounding area to be checked by us.
This was the status quo for the first 18 months or so of “The Project”.
Several things we did do during this time was enlist the services of scientist Bob Jordan and keep the local community appraised of what we were doing. Bob Jordan collates our catch data, the GPS positions of all our traps, and displays all this information on Google. To find out more about where our trap lines are located download this Google Earth KMZ File. Download the small file and when complete double click that file and it should put you into Google Earth with all of the new data loaded .
During late 2014 we held a district information evening at River Valley Lodge and updated the community on what we were doing, how successful it was, and put the question to them about who else would like to be involved. DOC representatives also attended and presented.
This lead to a further 50 traps being supplied by theRuahine Whio Protection Trust. These traps extended the area being covered on the river (checked by River Valley), and also covered some fenced off native forest remnants and small waterways on neighbouring farms (checked by individual farmers).
INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED?
Help us fight for our environment through sponsorships, donations or joining us on a scenic stoat-checking rafting trip.