Set pest traps, residents urged

By Adriana Weber

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Rotorua Canopy Tours conservation manager Gary Coker has been working to eradicate pests in the Dansey Rd Scenic Reserve near Mamaku. Photo/Supplied
Rotorua Canopy Tours conservation manager Gary Coker has been working to eradicate pests in the Dansey Rd Scenic Reserve near Mamaku. Photo/Supplied

A Rotorua company is urging residents to do their bit to help the region's native wildlife and environment.

Rotorua Canopy Tours is working to eradicate pests in 500 hectares of forest in the Dansey Rd Scenic Reserve near Mamaku.

So far the organisation has cleared almost 50 hectares of the forest from possums, stoats, ferrets, rats and other pests.

Staff recently set ferret traps - catching five - after more than 30 chickens and 10 ducks in the area were killed by the pests.

Rotorua Canopy Tours conservation manager Gary Coker said humane traps had been set to get rid of the pests that preyed on bellbirds, fantails, wood pigeons and other native birds living in the area.

Mr Coker said an average of 70,000 native birds were killed by pests in New Zealand every night, with about 260 million killed a year.

"The numbers are astronomical," Mr Coker said.

"I think a lot of people don't realise this is happening," he said. "That's because they can't see it, they can't see the damage that's been done in our forests and environment."

Mr Coker said stoats were among the worst predators of native birdlife in the area because of their aggressive nature and ability to climb.

"Stoats, like ferrets, will kill just for the sake of killing.

"Even if they have had enough to eat, it's in their nature, a kind of bloodlust, to kill what's in front of them," he said.

"The damage they are doing to our native species is enormous. New Zealand is such a unique country with such unique and wonderful native wildlife.

"We need to do everything we can to protect that and I think we have an obligation to do so." He encouraged Rotorua residents to set rat traps in their backyards and people living in rural areas to set stoat and ferret traps that were pet friendly.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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