A new trapline near Lake Kuratau set up by King Country Energy (KCE) and the Omori Kuratau Pest Management Group (OKPMG) has captured an unprecedented number of pests in just three months.
The new trapline is intended to capture possums, stoats, rats and mice that both compete with native wildlife for food and habitat and prey on them. It runs through a forestry block around the southern part of Lake Kuratau, above the Kuratau Power Station owned by KCE.
“Usually a new trapline takes about a month to capture its first predator, but within three days we had already captured four possums, three rats, and one mouse,” says OKPMG member Russell Shaw. “Within the last three months, we have successfully trapped an incredible 46 possums, 12 rats, one ferret, six hedgehogs and the mouse.”
KCE approached OKPMG last year to establish the initiative, as part of the energy generator’s focus on supporting the natural environments around its power stations. Since the traps were set in November, Shaw says they have captured pests in numbers never before seen by OKPMG in its 12 years of trapping in Omori and Kuratau.
In setting up the trapline, KCE and OKPMG have committed to a 10 year relationship to manage and expand the number of traps at Kuratau as capacity allows.
“The success of the traps so far shows there is much work to be done. But it’s a great start in supporting the native bush and wildlife around Kuratau to regenerate and thrive,” says KCE General Manager Chris Fincham.
“As we focus on sustainable energy generation through our hydropower stations, it’s important that we act as guardians of the land surrounding them. We look forward to seeing what we can achieve with OKPMG over the coming years, working to eliminate predators around Kuratau.”
For Shaw and OKPMG, the partnership works because KCE understands the issues these predators cause in the area.
“We hope KCE’s support and enthusiasm will inspire others as we extend our trapping programme to bring back native birds and bush to our beautiful region.”
Shaw and other members of OKPMG, including Gray Thompson and Dennis Sherson, as well as Laurie Back from the Whareroa trapping group, will continue to service the trapline on a weekly basis.
KCE owns five power stations across the Taupō, Ruapehu, Waitomo and Horowhenua districts.