The good news for Bay Bush Action last week was that another milestone had been reached with the trapping of the 10,000th rat by volunteers from just 250ha of the forest behind Paihia. The bad news was that thousands more were still at large.

Bay Bush Action spokesman Brad Windust blamed a long summer and ongoing mild temperatures for causing a plague of rodents, which he said would be having a devastating effect on Northland wildlife in areas where there was no pest control.

"There's always a seasonal bump in catches this time of year, but right now we are trapping what feels like a tsunami coming in, particularly young rats," he said.

The group was now extremely worried by the prospect of localised extinctions, which had happened before.


"Northland has already lost far too much to the mouths of these introduced invasive predators. Our forest parrots the kākā and kākāriki are gone, along with bellbirds and saddleback," Mr Windust said.

The trust, he said, believed that while trapping was "excellent," and had to continue, it couldn't come close to matching the efficiency of control methods such as biodegradable 1080. It was now hoping those in kaitiaki roles, and the Department of Conservation, would "step up, put a line in the sand and rebel against extinctions".

The trust believed that 1080 needed to be properly understood, and recognised as the best way to knock down pests over huge areas.

"Although it's a huge milestone for us, 10,000 rats could be controlled in just a few hours using 1080, but we will keep fighting to save our forests with all the tools we have. We just hope we don't lose more species in the meantime," he said.