Predator Free Waitahanui (PFW) has been set up as a volunteer organisation to coordinate pest control in our Waitahanui community. PFW is an extension of Greening Taupō whose objective is to improve the Taupō environment for people and native wildlife by undertaking restorative planting and pest control to create ecological corridors and increase the number of native birds in the Taupō area. For the native birds to thrive and survive within back-yards and the surrounding native bush a reduction in predators is fundamental. To stop possums damaging the native trees we will also target those creatures. PFW wants to encourage and enable individuals to undertake and support a trapping and eradication programme within the Waitahanui community and give our native biodiversity a chance to thrive.
Predators: Rats, Stoats, Weasels, Ferrets and even Hedgehogs love eggs. Most native birds breed at ground or low level, so the eggs or nestlings get eaten by these predators. Possums are also active in our community and do major damage to native trees and other vegetation. Rats are the most common target and Stoats, Weasels and Ferrets do even more damage to the birds, but are not as common in our area, although they have been trapped. Possums are also a target but require special traps. All traps used are tested and approved by the Department of Conservation and are designed to kill the target species instantly and humanely and to make it nearly impossible for children, birds or pets to get into the traps or get hurt.
1. Set up an effective predator eradication program in back-yards and native bush. 2. Get permanent and part-time residents from all back-grounds to work together. 3. Identify further environmental and conservation needs for the community.
At a recent trap building workshop by the Waitahanui School we have made more than 30 tunnels and these are currently distributed over various back-yards in the community. We expect to extend the project to the Waitahanui River. Tauhara College and Te Kura o Waitahanui (Waitahanui School) are supporting the project in various ways. We also work together with Iwi in the area who have committed to install traps in the surrounding areas to ensure minimal re-infestation of the village.