Predator Control Update
We have just completed our post poisoning rat monitor and got zero rats, 26% mice and 44% invertebrates.
This is a good result especially good to see the big number of invertebrates which is a sign of a healthy ecosystem. When rats are low the mice often rise as a result. Our bait stations struggle to lower mice numbers as they are too far apart for mice. (they would need to be 10m apart due to the small home range of mice). Zero rats is great, as a comparison Whirinaki forest had a recent rat monitor of 40%
We are still a bit light in terms of volunteer trappers for our DOC 250 lines and the data entry from some lines is very patchy. I am struggling to get data from some areas and a couple of other lines have patchy data. The main cell tower and Mackintosh lines are being serviced regularly.
I am working on upgrading all of our Autotraps to a new bait delivery system. I am removing the bottles with their small exit nozzle and replacing them with a plastic pouch that collapses as the bait is pumped out. This should have two benefits, it should prevent air oxidizing the bait and making it go lumpy and it removes the pinch point of the very narrow nozzle at the base of the bottle which is where the blockages occur. These traps are effective when they are working well and when we checked the 2 at the top of Karaponga the first had a rat, a possum and a cat underneath it and the other also had another cat. The beauty of these traps is that they target such a wide range of pests, reset automatically and ( when the baiting problems are ironed out) are low maintenance.
I am training more of our volunteers to be able to service these traps in the field so we are expanding our team of experts. The latest AT220s can incorporate a chip reader so they won’t kill pet cats that are microchipped but they are getting up around $500 each.
There is a new long life bait available that is supposed to out-perform rabbit egg etc. It is called PoaUku and is produced by Connovation. We have purchased some of these and are trialing them in the DOC 250s in the cell tower. They are designed to last for months and have been shown to be very effective in field trials. Watch this space.
Over the next few months there is going to be a merging of the Manawahe Kokako Trust and Manawahe Eco Trust . Hopefully this will make administration simpler but will not alter the work on the ground. It will just be one Manawahe project. As always we would welcome any new volunteers keen to help out with trapping.
Ko Mataatua te waka
Ko Ngāi Tūhoe me Ngāti Awa ōku iwi
Nō Wēra, Ingarangi, Kōtirana me Koroātia ōku tīpuna Pākehā
Ko Phoebe ahau
Kia ora, my name is Phoebe and I am the new Environmental Educator at the Manawahe Ecological Community Centre.
I grew up in Ōhope and spent a great amount of time as a kid mucking around in the bush or out on the water, whether it was rowing, surfing, or sailing. Through those experiences, and the katiakitanga my parents modelled for my sisters and I, I developed a keen interest in the natural world from a young age.
I became a geography and social studies teacher because I have always enjoyed working with people. Having gone to high school at Trident with great teachers like my predecessor in this role- Helen Dobbin, teaching seemed like a job where I could share my enthusiasm for my subject in creative ways with young minds.
My interest in education has never been limited to secondary school though, so after a stint travelling, I moved to Auckland and taught kindergarten. I developed a deep respect for early childhood pedagogy, especially RIE. I believe that all children should have the opportunity to freely explore nature in a safe space at their own pace and that this is how they develop a wonder for the natural world. I hope I will have many opportunities to offer that in my role as environmental educator.
For the last six years I have been living on the West Coast of Sweden, mostly in the wonderful city of Gothenburg. I taught English in Swedish high schools and was inspired by their practical education system. I want to offer students hands on experience in the bush where we can develop necessary skills and invigorate an interest in our incredible coastal forests and conservation in general.
I returned to live in Whakatane in September this year with my partner and our son. It has been amazing getting to know our community in the Eastern Bay again. There are so many passionate, knowledgeable, and skilled locals organising for the benefit of our environment, and I am looking forward to finding how I can fit in and help in my capacity as environmental educator.
Please get in touch if you would ever like to book the Manawahe Ecological Community Centre as a venue, or if you have a school group or a community group that would like to run a camp or daytrip at the centre, or work together on a project whether it be planting natives or pest control, or anything ecological!
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org