Project Update on Calwell Predator Control

Thursday, 02 February 2017

Project Plan:

This project encompasses three private properties in the Upper Opuatia wetland and some public marginal strips. Two large wetlands (22 hectares in total) have already been created, fenced and planted by the landowners and hunters. The area has been studied as part of the WCEET funded Masters project and holds a large abundance of breeding waterfowl. Notably, bittern were also flushed from the upper Dam on multiple occasions.  Fish and Game only support predator control in areas where we have a high degree of certainty that it will be conducted in an efficient and ongoing manner. The hunters in the area are willing to provide a quad bike. Trapping will be co-ordinated and primarily conducted by Bill Riley at two week intervals. The trap line will comprise predominately DOC 200, 250 and modified Timms traps to be placed at 200m intervals in concert with bait stations around wetland and stream margins. The programme will target mustelids, rats, cats and possums.

Project Update:

Traps were deployed in 2014 with Fish and Game staff helping with trap placement. Subsequently, the majority of the catch in the DOC 200s has been comprised of rats, some hedgehogs and with weasels also being caught in relatively high numbers. Cats tend to be caught periodically whilst only 1 stoat and no ferrets have been caught to date. Good nature mustelid traps and lures are being trialed to see if augmenting the rap line with resetting traps will capture more stoats.

Photo 1: Fish and Game staff helping landowners with their trapping programmes