Mulberry Grove Community Rat Project was launched in late February.
About fifteen residents attended the launch meeting, opened by GBI Trust
chair John Ogden, and hailed as the first urban community trapping
project on island. Residents in the bay area which covers 96 properties
will have commenced intensive trapping of rats in March. The goal is to
reduce the impact of rats and in doing so give the native plant and bird
species of the area a better opportunity to flourish.
This coastal area abundant with pohutukawa and flax attracts a variety
of bird species, particularly tui and kaka. Rails are also seen
The project was initiated by the Great Barrier Island Trust, with Judy
Gilbert from the Trust, and Des Casey from D.o.C taking the idea for a
community rat project to local landowners in November 2008. Local
residents were enthusiastic and appointed Cathy Scott to coordinate the
project including the deployment of equipment onto each property, the
stock of equipment required, and the results of the trapping.
As part of the project a trapping programme has already been established
at Mulberry Grove School with a local person checking and baiting traps
on a regular basis. The need for consistent trapping to get rat numbers
down and keep them low was stressed at the meeting.
Sponsorship has been provided by the ARC for rat traps; the Windy Hill
Rosalie Bay Catchment Trust for trap covers, string, and monitoring
tunnels; and the coordination of landowners and provision of maps
through Des Casey from D.o.C. Mulberry Grove School has also sponsored a
meeting room and some printing costs. Bait for traps are to be supplied
by the landowner.
Thank you to all sponsors.
A set of 10 rat tracking tunnels has been established through the bay
area and a pre-management monitor done in December showed a 20% result
and a second in February showed a 45% result. Tracking tunnels are a
means of measuring rat activity in an area and the number of pre-inked
pads (left overnight in a tunnel baited with peanut butter) that have
rat prints marked on them can be worked to a percentage which indicates
levels of rat activity. D.o.C in its Mainland Island conservation projects
strives for a <5% tracking tunnel rate. In autumn a seasonal bulge of
rats is generally observed with rats’ numbers peaking in March and April
– so throughout this period traps need to be checked, reset, and baited
freshly at least weekly.
At the meeting a data sheet was to supplied to each participant so that
a record of the number of catches per month can be kept and a data base
of trapping information developed. There is to be a prize for the most
rats caught in March.
Of the 96 properties in the bay area there are around 25 residents and
it is hoped that these people will, with the permission of the owners,
manage a number of nonresident properties to ensure good trapping
coverage of the entire area.
With the interest shown by the community it is planned to expand the
project to include a fresh water stream and rail monitoring programme.
It is also hoped that other communities on island will be motivated to
establish collectively organized trapping programmes. For more
information contact Cathy Scott (082)