Carolyn Symmans' days as a one-woman predator killer could be close to coming to an end.

Carolyn is Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Society's predator control officer and devotes hours to setting and checking traps in the area. Her victims include rats, stoats, weasels and ferrets, all threats to local native birdlife and wildlife.

But the Predator Free BOP movement is gaining momentum across the district. It's an initiative that could see more people involved in predator control in the area.

The wetland society as well as groups in Te Puke and Little Waihi are keen to get on board.


The initiative has brought Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council, Tauranga City Council, the Bay Conservation Alliance and Tauranga Envirohub together.

The aim is to get a rat trap in the backyard of one in every five households in suburban Western Bay of Plenty and the wider goal is to make New Zealand predator free by 2050.
Carolyn can't wait to get started.

She says in areas where the initiative is more advanced, she has heard good reports.

"The more people who get on board the better, but it's still very early stages."

Through her trapping activities Carolyn is well aware of the scale of the problem and, as she gets better known for her role, she is receiving more and more calls from people about predators, especially rats.

"People delight in burying household rubbish in the garden and that is a terrific attraction to rodents," she says.

"And a lot don't have secure compost bins, so they get into the compost and breed and the cycle goes on."

She says she has trapped rats as large as 2-month old kittens.


She uses a powerful DOC 200 trap baited with bacon, peanut butter or dog roll.

"I also use ping pong balls. It's a visual thing, to mimic eggs. I smear them with bacon."

As well as getting out and killing predators, Carolyn also visits schools with her collection of stuffed predators and native birds to talk about the need for predator control and also to illustrate the dangers of the traps.

When she does her trapping, she goes alone.

"I believe rodents get used to your smell and your footprints, so if you take a stranger out there they are wary of the new smells."

Carolyn will have her stuffed animals on display at this weekend's A&P Show, with a stand combining Maketu Ongatoro Wetland Group, Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust, Te Puke Forest and Bird and the Te Whakakaha Conservation Trust, with DOC sponsoring the stand.

To get on board the Predator Free BOP movement and stay updated on what's happening, find and like the Predator Free BOP Facebook page.