25th January 2024
I first got involved with Predator Free Arrowtown in 2018 when I helped Ben Teele install traps in Sawpit Gully and Brow Peak. Since then, the PFA network has been expanded to include the high routes I like to monitor. These include routes up to Bracken’s Saddle and over the Miner’s Trail, a route up to Big Hill Saddle and over Big Hill to Hayes Creek, as well as across to Brow Peak and Coronet Peak and down to Bush Creek Saddle. These high routes complement the lower trap lines along the Arrow River to Whitechapel, Bush Creek, Sawpit Gully, New Chum’s Gully, and Tobin’s Track.
The biggest surprise has been the hedgehogs. They are caught everywhere: in the valleys, beech forests, and ridge lines. I didn’t realise they were so widespread.
I also find the trapping patterns interesting. There are certain traps that I almost expect to find a catch, while others are cyclical, and others can’t be predicted. That reinforces how necessary it is to keep re-baiting the traps that don’t catch anything, as you can’t predict when the trap may end up in a predator’s territory.
I enjoy walking in the hills around Arrowtown, and it’s a bonus that I can be helpful in my leisure time. I am also involved with the Arrowtown Choppers, and when I am checking the traps, I am also looking out for and clearing wildings. I also collect native seeds to propagate. I believe predator control, wilding control, and native regeneration are interrelated as a part of the process of restoring the natural biodiversity of our land, and I am happy to be able to contribute.
Graeme checking traps near Brow Peak
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