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Native species thrive where we live, work and play

Pest Control

Helping our native species

New Zealand's native birds, reptiles and amphibians evolved in a landscape where there were no land mammals. When humans began to arrive, they brought with them a host of cunning predator species that our native wildlife simply wasn't adapted to survive.

Even with good habitat, our native species continue to face significant threats from introduced species such as stoats, ferrets, possums, rats and feral cats. These predators can also pose a threat to livestock and cause severe economic loss for farmers.

Pest control allows us to increase the number of our native species and help support the livelihoods of landowners within Cape to City.

Stepping up surveillance

Setting traps is only part of the equation: finding and tracking pests in the project footprint also plays a critical role. Cape to City relies heavily on motion-sensitive trail cameras to increase our understanding of predators in the landscape, determine population trends across large areas, and detect 'hotspots' where predator numbers are particularly high. These cameras are proving effective at capturing predators that are notoriously difficult to track, such as feral cats.

Our project is also at the forefront of pioneering exciting new wireless trapping technologies. These systems send satellite alerts when a trap has been triggered, instantly notifying the trap manager's smartphone or computer. By using this tool, we're hoping to reduce the amount of time, effort and resources involved in maintaining a widespread trap network, making it a reliable and efficient method for pest control on farms and other properties.

What's next

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has been running a possum control programme on farmland and rural properties since 2009. Widespread landowner support has helped make this project incredibly successful, with most of the region reducing possum numbers to a 'trap-catch' measure of 3% or less a mere 3 possums caught per 100 possum traps!

Cape to City's vision is to build on the success of this programme and help landowners reduce mustelid and feral cat numbers, as well. Feral cats in particular pose a significant risk to farmers: they are the sole reproductive carriers of toxoplasmosis disease, which causes abortion in pregnant ewes. Toxoplasmosis is also a known health risk to pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.

By collaborating on landscape-scale pest control, the farms and rural properties that are at the heart of Hawke's Bay's livelihoods and lifestyles will be able to grow and thrive alongside our native species.

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