Rotopounamu Update November 2010

Rotopounamu Update November 2010

It has been a busy start to the season up at Rotopounamu involving lots of rodent control and monitoring. With spring well on the way the birds are out in abundance and the lake levels have dropped back down to ordinary level.

Contractors have been employed this year to undertake the baiting operation and new bait called PestOff 50D is being used. The contractors started in September, initially with fortnightly re-fills of bait stations, and are now re-filling stations on a monthly basis with the next fill due in mid November.

To determine how many rats and mice were in the bush prior to the season’s bait distribution, tracking tunnels were run in early September resulting in a rat density index of 69% and mice densities at 49%. After the first week of bait distribution, a second tracking tunnel operation was run with fantastic results. Rat densities had dropped to 5.7% and mice down to 30%. November tracking tunnels have just been run with more good news. Rats are now at a density of 1.4% and mice at 2.9%!! This result meets one of the conservation objective’s that ship rat populations are maintained below a 5% footprint tracking index during the months of October – February!

The 50 DOC200 traps around Lake Rotopounamu have been set for the season and have been baited with eggs and salted rabbit meat. So far 6 rats and 2 stoats have been trapped. These traps are a last line of defence but also a good advocacy tool for talking to members of the public about our project.

A big thank you to Kevin, Beth, Shirley and Karen and their families who have been out running tracking tunnel lines and checking traps.

Traps up at Rotopounamu need to be checked once a week so if anyone is keen to help out with this that would be great – it’s a great reason to get out and enjoy the walk.

Roel Michels