If you build a better mousetrap, then the world will beat a path to your door.

MORE: Punakaiki group hunts predators with new Internet of Things network

Or at least, in the case of Wellington company Goodnature, a better rat trap has seen the Capital Kiwi Project come calling.

Goodnature's "Chirp" technology uses bluetooth wireless technology to send an alert to a smartphone when a trap is sprung (as long as the phone is within a 50m range).


The Goodnature Chirp app can, in turn, collect data and pass it on to their neighbour, community or conservation project via the cloud, with the time and location of kills shared on a map.

Goodnature's A24 with Chirp ($199), which can kill rats or stoats, will first be put into use as part of Wellington's Capital Kiwi project - a community-led initiative to make Wellington pest-free so to reintroduce kiwi birds into the area.

The Capital Kiwi project area covers 23,000ha of land, with more than 4000 traps expected to be deployed. The first 800 of the project's traps (a combination of Goodnature A24s and DOC250s) have been installed, with trap and Chirp activation now complete.

Goodnature co-founder and design director Robbie van Dam says the A24 uses non-toxic bait.

And he says the trap is humane. A CO²-pressurised steel piston strikes the rat's head, killing it instantly and then retracts on a light spring.

The trap can reset itself 24 times per CO² canister, and its battery only needs to be changed every two to five years.

Chirp will also be helpful around the home and for those trapping indoors, van Dam says, as users are notified instantly to when a pest is killed by their trap, which makes for a quicker, easier clean up.

The information fed from backyard networks will contribute to the nationwide map of where traps are operating and their performance.

A alert is automatically sent to a smartphone after a rat or stoate is killed.
A alert is automatically sent to a smartphone after a rat or stoate is killed.

"Goodnature is trying understand and measure how animals behave relative to each other, which this new technology will really help with," says van Dam. "For example, if one trap removes a hectare worth of pests, what does that mean for the next hectare? What happens to neighbouring areas if pests are eradicated in a controlled zone?" van Dam says.

Goodnature is exporting the technology to the US.

New Zealand has the aim of being rat, stoat and possum-free by 2050, though some researchers have questioned strategy, and the achievability of the goal.