23rd December 2021
Queenstown Climbing Club initially worked with DOC in 2013 to put in a single line of 35 x DOC 200 traps in Wye Creek. Since then, the club has added more traps, then the project expanded further thanks to an ORC EcoFund grant in 2019 acquiring an 8 extra traps and funding to ensure consistent and regular rebaiting of traps was possible, in addition the local Girl Rangers donated another $1800 to buy traps after spending December 2020 wrapping Xmas presents to raise money for conservation.
In the 2 years preceding the 2019 ORC grant we caught 278 predators, with funding and community contributions we saw that increase by 70% to 473 catches in the following 2 years. There is now significant evidence of healthy numbers of forest and sub-alpine bird life – Tomtits, Bellbirds, Grey Warblers, Fantails, Silver Eyes and Chaffinches with one spotting of a Ruru in Lower Wye Creek.
We now have 139 traps in the Lower Wye Creek that form a barrier for predators moving into the upper catchment. When we consider the high alpine ridge lines on either side of the Upper Wye Creek, that form a natural barrier, we in essence have the beginnings of a mainland island.
‘The potential benefits of mainland islands are enormous for habitats and their unique ecosystem processes, for the survival of individual species (flora and fauna) on the mainland, and for New Zealanders in being able to experience first-hand a unique New Zealand habitat containing a diverse range of native and endemic flora and fauna.’ Department of Conservation
Our main target species is the stoat as they encroach further and further into the alpine zone, we will also have a secondary target of rats and hedgehogs.
Our trapping plan is to install 70 x GoodNature A24 traps, one every 100m, covering the 7km to Wye Saddle. These are self resetting traps capable of 24 kills before replacing the gas compression bottle and will use a specialist Stoat Lure that is effective for 6 months. They will be installed on a 0.8m Waratah and 400mm fence baton and include the new Bluetooth Chirp which will allow us to monitor actual catches with date, time, and temperature. This will give us valuable information for rebaiting strategies in future years.
In addition, we will build 35 x Kea Proof Double DOC 200 traps and install and locate these every 200m and stabilise them with rods of reenforcing bar baited with Eggs and dried rabbit meat.
Given the remote location it is intended the traps only get checked 3 times a year – October to install fresh bait and install fresh gas, then January and April to rebait.
The building of the DOC 200 traps will be done partly by the climbing club and also the local Men’s Shed in Arrowtown. Installing the traps and in the High Alpine section will be done by volunteers from the local section of the NZ Alpine Club and NZ Ski staff. Locating and installing traps in the mid valley will be done by Queenstown Climbing Club volunteers.
In addition, we intend to have the youth members of our club help with fund raising using the local Mitre 10 community BBQ facility.
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