Birdlife on Grampians is a project involving volunteers in Nelson assisting the restoration of Native Birds on Grampians by reducing the impact of predators by trapping the target species in a series of kill traps.
Launched by Bryce Buckland at a public meeting in 2009, this project depends on an enthusiastic group of volunteers who regularly check the traps set among the trees and undergrowth beside the Grampians walking paths.
Public donations are spent on traps, bait and supplies such as protective gloves , replacement lures and trap boxes.
Tallys are kept of catches which show a downward trend with seasonal variation.
How was this done?
Existing Tracks on Grampians have been marked off at regular spaces and a series of kill Traps designed to target each predator species have been established at each site.
Monitoring of these traps is done on a regular basis by Volunteers of the trapping group and results collated to obtain seasonal trends, trapping techniques and progress towards predator reduction. Traps are kept from Public view where possible.
What predators are targeted?
The primary species are Rats, Mustelids, (Stoats, Weasels and Ferrets) Possums and Wasp.
We concentrate on Rats and Possums.
Hedgehogs will be an accidental by-catch but are also an unwanted species.
There are significant numbers of Cats (domestic, Wild and Feral) We do not plan to target Cats. Traps we use are unlikely to catch a Cat and we use no meat based lures that could attract Cats.
There are lots of traps available, what traps do we use?
Kamate. Victor Professional SnapE Rat.: These three traps have proven to be extremely effective for the control of Rats, Mice and even small Mustelids like Weasels. Victor and Kamate traps are placed in a specially designed box on the ground. SnapE traps are nailed up in suitable trees. The prime Lure used is peanut butter.
DOC 150 & 200 as well as Fenn: Fixed inside a specially built box are ideal for Rats, Stoats (all Mustelids) Hedgehogs. The box for the DOC 150’s are an in-house “run through” design and have no lure in them.
Warrior. Sentinel. Possum master: These tree mounted traps have shown to be very effective for quick kills on Possums. Warrior traps are dangerous to un-trained people so are kept well concealed to prevent accidental injury to the public. Sentinel traps are the most popular trap for Possums on DOC estates.
Poison is fast, Why we don’t use poison?
There are some very effective poisons available for killing Possums and Rats. The problem is that poison is a very indiscriminate way of killing. This means you may well be killing desirable species along with the pests and there is no way to be sure of the damage being done. Poisons always have a residue. Depending of the toxin, this residue stays in the environment and in many cases last for over two years. Toxins used kill pests can then remain and also destroy other species that we want to save. Many people hate the use of 1080 (Sodium acetate) in poison operations but because there is no as much public awareness, don’t think of the more serious problems of residue when using Baits like Storm (flocoumafen ) or others containing Brodificoum or Cholecalciferol and now carbofuradan. These have a residue life far longer than 1080 and contaminate the soil for years. They keep killing long after people expect. There is some good reading at www.tandfonline.com. (type: “Alternatives to 1080″ in the subject line)