For 2019, Taranaki Mounga and many other groups and organisations are working toward an increase in targeted predator control.

Kaitake Range
As noted in our September newsletter, the Kaitake Range already has over 250 predator traps on the Range, thanks to the dedicated Kaitake Ranges Conservation Trust volunteers.

Our project, along with Taranaki Taku Turanga – Towards Predator-Free Taranaki, led by Taranaki Regional Council (TRC), are working closely in rural and urban areas around the Range, and with the many community groups in the area, to dramatically bring down predator numbers.

In 2019, the multi-tool approach to predator control continues, with the aim of restoring Kaitake by completely removing possums from forest, rural and urban areas and to prevent re-infestations.

In addition to trapping, 16 sensor cameras will continue to capture images of predators and provide an even firmer picture of where pests are present on the range. Rats and possums are the main predators captured on the cameras and our regular monitoring, using wax tags and tracking tunnels.

The comprehensive network of trapping, plus a zero-possum trial prescription of aerial 1080 predator control on the Kaitake Range mid-2019, will enable the project to target predators in their home range at the same time. It will not be used on any farming or urban areas. An additional network of over 600 traps will target stoats across all of range will also continue.

The rest of Egmont National Park

In 2019, a sustained control operation is planned to be delivered concurrent to the Kaitake Range operation. This will treat over 31,000ha of the Egmont National Park. This will include standard aerial 1080 predator control. There have been four previous operations in the Park, with the last operation completed in 2016/2017. Prior to this the Park was treated in 2009/10, 2002 and 1993/94. These have all been ‘sustained control’ operations, with minimal ground control delivered concurrent to the aerial operation.

Additional new elements for this part of the operation includes extensive ground control around the perimeter of the Park out, forming a buffer area of protection. In addition, the installation of a bait station network (one every 50 metres) around the perimeter of the Park, as well as within exclusion area where aerial delivery is not possible.

Thirty-six sensor cameras will continue to capture images of predators and provide an even firmer picture of where pests are present. Rats and possums are the main predators captured on the cameras and our regular monitoring, using wax tags and tracking tunnels.

Taranaki Mounga and contractors from OSPRI have started liaising with the park’s neighbouring landowners and interested parties to talk through the project and mitigate concerns they may have. As with the Kaitake Range operation, Taranaki Mounga are liaising with local iwi and hapū to also understand concerns, adapt to recommendations from tangata whenua where we can, and provide information around this operation.