Daytime stoat sightings and a "plague" of rabbits have Hawke's Bay residents concerned for wildlife in the region.
Simone Jones lives on a lifestyle block near Havelock North and said she's noticed a huge increase in wild cats, stoats, ferrets and rabbits in the past year.
"On the 30-minute drive to town I normally see half a dozen ferrets or stoats a week," she said, "and, at our property alone, dozens of rabbits each morning."
Jones said the wild cats roaming her and neighbouring properties have been eating quails - even trapping doesn't seem to curb the problem.
"Is it a coincidence that we have had a third of the fantail, tui and bellbirds this year, compared to last summer?" she said.
Department of Conservation Hawke's Bay supervisor Kelly Eaton said predators such as ferrets and cats are an ongoing issue.
"Their numbers fluctuate depending on food supply and climatic conditions," she said.
"When there are a lot of rabbits it can support the growth of the ferret population."
When the rabbit population drops, ferrets look elsewhere for their food supply - which can have a bigger effect on native wildlife.
DoC rrevealed in June last year that there'd been a 20 per cent increase in ferret catches from traplines around Boundary Stream Mainland Island Reserve in Tutira.
Eaton said DoC volunteers have also noticed more stoats being caught in the Kaweka Forest Park this year, which may indicate an increase in mustelid numbers.
"This follows a peak in rat activity - rats are a source of food and therefore population growth for stoats," she said.
A Predator Free Hawke's Bay spokesman said one of the main reasons for the rise in pest populations is because of the top-down approach they have been taking targeting the apex predator – cats.
"Now the focus needs to be changed to manage the negative side effects," he said.
Hastings orchard owner Ross Derbridge said they are plagued by rabbits.
"We can shoot 20 rabbits a day but it doesn't have any affect because they just re-populate from next door and down the river," he said. "Individual land owners can't really get any control."
Derbridge said the only solution he sees is if Hawke's Bay Regional Council (HBRC) takes more action.
"A portion of our rates go to pest control and it's not really happening," he added.
Landowners are responsible for rabbit control on their property.
Jones said she undertakes this duty, but it isn't solving the problem.
"In Maraetotara for example, cameras have shown pests are coming over from the reserve," she said. "It's a huge cost each year paying for bait and traps, even at the discounted rates."
HBRC biosecurity team leader Allan Beer said predators and pests are most visible at this time of year - and shooting them is not enough.
"An integrated approach utilising all techniques available and working together with neighbours is the only way to get long-term success," he said.
"No one land occupier can do it alone. All landowners need to work together – think team of five million approaches."
Beer added that the council can help community groups wanting to do conservation work and can advise landholders wanting to control predators.