Predator-Proof Your Property
Jessi Morgan on pest prevention.
A predator-free New Zealand by 2050 is an ambitious, though worthwhile goal, which we can all do our bit to achieve.
If your lifestyle block is near a bush reserve or the coast, you’re likely to host unwelcome guests – particularly rats, stoats, weasels, ferrets, feral cats and possums. As well as harbouring disease and stealing your fruit, these unwanted visitors target New Zealand’s precious endangered species. Here’s how to rid your block of predators.
- First, identify which predators you are dealing with so you can target them using the best methods. Chew cards or tracking cards (http://predatorfreenz.org/get-started/beginners-guide/chew-cards/) and tunnels (http://predatorfreenz.org/backyard-trapping/tracking-tunnels/) will help identify predators and pestdetective.org.nz will inform you about pest poo.
- Remove food and water sources or make them less accessible. For example, vermin-proof your hen-house, pick fruit as soon as it ripens and compost food waste using a bokashi bin.
- What do you want to achieve with predator control? Is to rid your compost bin of rats, save your fruit trees, for forest regeneration, or to hear more birdsong? By first working out your motivation, you can then decide which predators to control and how you’ll know you have achieved your goal.
- Knowing which predators to target you can choose the right trap for the job and start trapping. Using humane traps and recording what you’re doing is important in case you decide to change your methods. See http://predatorfreenz.org/tools-resources/trapping-best-practice/ for a guide to trapping best practice.
- By measuring your results, you will know if your predator control programme is successful: http://predatorfreenz.org/tools-resources/recording-monitoring/. Chew cards or tracking tunnels are useful to indicate any remaining predators.
Jessi Morgan runs the Predator Free NZ Trust and is committed to creating safe spaces for native birds outside fenced sanctuaries. She regularly takes her children to check the traps in the local reserve, and has a surprisingly busy rat trap in her central Wellington backyard.
See www.predatorfree.org.nz for more info.