Phase 3 – The Results
15 October, 2016
Ever since Rotorua Canopy Tours first began, our intention was to restore the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve and put conservation at the very heart of our eco-tourism business.
Over the past four years we’ve steadily increased our pest eradication programme and in October 2016, we embarked on Phase 3.
A lot of preparation work had to be done beforehand. Our guides cut through the dense native forest and marked out 7km of new trapping lines ready for Goodnature traps to be installed. A24 rat traps were placed every 50m along these lines and A12 possum traps were installed every 100m.
These Goodnature traps feature amazing technology. They’re powered by CO2 gas canisters and re-set themselves using an internal spring after each kill. The possum traps can catch 12 possums consecutively and the rat traps can catch 24 rodent predators before we need to arrive on site and replenish the bait.
This system has proven to be a huge success. Including the new Phase 3 traps, 180ha of the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve is now under pest control. We have a total of 650 traps located along 22km of trapping lines. In addition to the Goodnature A24 rat and A12 possum traps, we also use Doc 200 traps as well. This has created a massive ‘safe zone’ for our native birds and insects, and the number of pests being caught in the reserve has plummeted.
Rats are prolific breeders and can have up to 12 pups every 12 weeks. That’s why pest control is an ongoing battle. Rats will eat virtually anything including insects, birds’ eggs and young chicks still in their nests. Having traps operating 24/7 throughout the reserve is the only way to prevent their numbers spiralling out of control.
Our Phase 3 operation officially went live on Monday 10 October. We left the traps for two nights before going to investigate the results. A total of 91 rats and 14 possums were collected, a fantastic outcome despite some pretty wet weather!
The benefits of having Goodnature traps operating throughout the Dansey Road Scenic Reserve are already evident. Native birds have returned in huge numbers and can be seen and heard all around. The canopy is lush and green, trees are now flowering, and the eco-system is working as nature intended – with plenty of insects providing food for the birds who can then safely breed in peace.
We plan to increase the pest control efforts even further in future so the entire reserve will one day be filled with native species once again.