Rats, possums, ferrets and stoats living near Lake Ngaroto will come under attack as Waipa District Council moves to protect local wildlife.

Starting next week, traps will be placed around the margins of Lake Ngaroto to reduce predator numbers at the reserve. The trapping project is co-funded by the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust and Council's Heritage Fund.

Council heritage manager Tony Roxburgh said insects and birds would be the big winners from predator control work, but this initiative will enable all the natural wetland inhabitants to prosper.

"Ngaroto is a refuge for several species of birds including the Australasian bittern, spotless crake and marsh crake, all whose numbers are in serious decline.


Predators like feral cats, rats, stoats and possums impact the birds' food sources and are a huge threat to their continued survival at Ngaroto."

The predator control efforts are part of a wider restoration project for the lake which includes re-planting work and creating treatment ponds to improve water-quality.

Traps will be placed a distance from the track and warning signs installed.

However, Mr Roxburgh urged people to keep their distance if they do see any.

"We don't anticipate the public will come across the traps, but if they do we strongly suggest not touching them and as always, keeping dogs on a leash," he says.

"They are designed to trap animal pests, we don't want anyone to hurt themselves."

The Te Awamutu Menzshed has been commissioned to build wooden boxes to house traps that will be used as part of the project and other skilled volunteers will check and service the traps.

To get involved in the project, contact Council on 0800 924 723.