The WANZ group at Fairhaven school have had a lot of fun learning about New Zealand's pests.

This term, the Wild About New Zealand (WANZ) group at Fairhaven School has been learning about animal pests that are a threat to New Zealand's native birds and plants.
All the pests in New Zealand were brought in by humans over the centuries without realising the havoc they would cause on the native wildlife.

Most of us know that rats, stoats and possums are pests, but many may not realise that cute rabbits and hedgehogs and even our pet cats and dogs can also be pests.

The students learned how to identify each pests' tracks and set up tracking tunnels around the school to see what pests may be lurking about.

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At Fairhaven, mouse tracks were left on one trakka card.

We have put out more tracking tunnels to see what else we can find.

We also placed a chew card at the school, but it was untouched, even though there is evidence that mice are in the area. A chew card is a piece of corrugated cardboard with peanut butter injected into it to attract pests.

We will give out chew cards to the students to see what they can find in the Te Puke community.

The students also chose a pest animal to investigate and each made a "wanted" poster about their pest.

These have been displayed at school so other students can learn about pests too.

Last week, Papamoa Hills Regional park ranger Mark Ray met the WANZ group at Papamoa Hills and showed them various traps used to trap and kill pests.

At the start of the walk at Papamoa Hills, there is a sign warning of the rabbit poison used in the area to stop these pests from eating the native bush.

Mark also showed us the rat bait placed in bait stations for the rats to be poisoned.
The students also got to see how a stoat trap worked using an egg as bait.

There is even a cage for wild cats.

Volunteers from Forest and Bird help the council monitor these trap and bait stations.

The WANZ group at Fairhaven school have had a lot of fun learning about New Zealand's pests.

If you would like to learn more about pests or help eradicate them in Te Puke contact the local council. Wild About New Zealand is a Western Bay of Plenty funded programme. Visit www.wildaboutnz.co.nz for more information.