One of Rotorua's scenic reserves is now rid of 123 rats, six possums and 11 mice after Trenz delegates set traps while in town last week.
Rotorua Canopy Tours, in conjunction with the Tourism Industry Association and Department of Conservation, initiated the programme for delegates attending last week's annual tourism conference, Trenz.
Delegates were invited to participate in a trap layout in the 5ha forest at Dansey Rd Scenic Reserve last Monday after recent monitoring work in the forest showed signs of significant rat activity and identified the presence of possums.
The resulting 140 total pests trapped is a result that Canopy Tours general manager Paul Button is ecstatic about.
"This trapping programme was such a success, and we're really happy the Trenz delegates were so keen to get involved and make a positive, lasting difference here in Rotorua.
"We're finding the rats are eating all of the possum bait, so we're going to keep clearing the traps every day until the number of rats caught daily drops," Button said.
"Once the rat numbers settle down, we'll be able to get the possums out and have a better sense of the overall health of the forest."
The trapping programme was implemented to demonstrate to tourism representatives the significance and value of participating in conservation activities.
"Rats and possums are incredibly harmful to native flora and fauna, and forests without any form of pest control are often low in bird life and suffer from effects of possum browse."
Since Canopy Tours started trapping years ago, numerous native bird species have been recorded as flocking back to the forest, and the native flora is also regenerating. Even a rare striped skink was spotted in the forest.
Department of Conservation superviser Carrie Abbott said there were 500,000 businesses registered in New Zealand employing about 2 million people so "there is a real opportunity to mainstream habitat restoration".
Abbott said any form of conservation would be beneficial for habitats around New Zealand and businesses should get involved.
"New Zealand has a real crisis on its hands in biodiversity challenges, so the more the merrier. It takes all of New Zealand approach to tackle some of these issues."