A trap on a tree.

Trap tech: how the AT220 is innovating pest tech

Trappers are all too familiar with the time-intensive task of checking traps and replacing bait. But thanks to fully automated traps like the AT220, this is changing. The team at New Zealand AutoTraps are pioneering what it means to be pest trappers in 2023. Having developed the AT220, a fully self-resetting possum and rat trap, … Continue reading Trap tech: how the AT220 is innovating pest tech

Pests, traps and some native wildlife on the left versus all beautiful native wildlife on the right.

Suppression vs eradication – what’s the difference?

The words “suppression” and “eradication” get used a lot in the predator free movement. But what do these terms actually mean? While suppression (also known as control) is keeping a lid on populations of predators and making sure the pot doesn’t boil over, eradication is completely emptying the pot so there’s nothing left. To understand … Continue reading Suppression vs eradication – what’s the difference?

A man in life jacket on a small dinghy in Fiordland

Tackling Fiordland: DOC calls in apprentice backup

In a daring expedition on the high seas, predator free apprentice duo Aidan Braid and Jamie Hickling tackled coastal trapping head-on.  With the Department of Conservation’s Fiordland team away dealing with an emergency pest incursion elsewhere, the Mammalian Corrections Unit was tasked with heading to Secretary Island in the “Stoat Boat”. Joining Predator Free apprentices … Continue reading Tackling Fiordland: DOC calls in apprentice backup

A collection of traps.

Day in the life: installing a trap network in an ancient forest

Come behind the scenes with predator free apprentices Aidan and Jamie at Mammalian Corrections Unit (MCU) as they help establish an intensive trap network in an old-growth forest.  Hikaroroa (Mt Watkin) looks down across one of the last large patches of old-growth broadleaf-podocarp forests north of Dunedin. Monitoring showed mustelids as one of the major … Continue reading Day in the life: installing a trap network in an ancient forest

A volunteer servicing a trap line

5 insights from women in conservation

The gender gap in conservation is no secret — fewer than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we spoke to five women in conservation with advice and insights to inspire others to realise “I can do that, too.” 1. Being inspired by the taonga you’re protecting – Sarah … Continue reading 5 insights from women in conservation

Finn leaning against a truck.

First-class: predator free apprentice graduate becomes second-in-command

Two years ago, Finn Giddy was working his first serious job out of high school digging trenches, unsure of his career prospects. Now, he’s the first graduate of the predator free apprenticeship programme – and his career is off to a roaring start. Reflecting on the journey that brought him to his dream career working … Continue reading First-class: predator free apprentice graduate becomes second-in-command

Māia crouched inspecting a trap with mountain landscape in background.

Kiwi calling: Predator Free NZ Trust apprentice Māia Gibbs at home on the range

Like many of us, Māia Gibbs grew up never having seen a kiwi in the wild. Now, she gets up close and personal while helping save the kiwi as a Predator Free NZ Trust apprentice.  Holding a fluffy, pear-shaped ball of feathers with strong talons Māia, 21, is living the dream of many in a … Continue reading Kiwi calling: Predator Free NZ Trust apprentice Māia Gibbs at home on the range

A tūī singing

Science fiction meets reality: “ultimate device” to bring back birdsong

After hearing Aotearoa New Zealand described as “a cathedral without a choir” serial inventor and engineering wizard Grant Ryan (Kāti Huirapa) knew he needed to use his powers for good. Together with a bunch of mechanical engineers and software developers, Grant now runs The Cacophony Project, a space-age innovation project using technological tools and artificial … Continue reading Science fiction meets reality: “ultimate device” to bring back birdsong

A group of people in the dense forest.

Flora, fauna and Flightless: the predator free mission at the heart of a southwest business’s success

Right down the bottom of Aotearoa, in the southwest corner – where kākā monkey around in the trees and humpback whales breach the surface of deep, silky water – there is a boat. On the hull of this 27m expedition vessel you can read its name written in bold, white letters – Flightless.  It belongs … Continue reading Flora, fauna and Flightless: the predator free mission at the heart of a southwest business’s success

A flying black-fronted turn

Hope floats: protecting our endangered terns and gulls

Have you ever needed to take a pack rafting course to be able to carry out your day job? Apprentice ecologist Keegan Miskimmin has. Why? Because the most effective way to assess new breeding colonies for endangered river birds is by raft.  As part of his work with Wildlife Management International Ltd, Keegan spent four … Continue reading Hope floats: protecting our endangered terns and gulls

A stoat with a dead rat in its mouth

Zeroing in – toxic rodents lure last stoats

Imagine lush landscapes alive with Aotearoa New Zealand’s quirky and unique plants and wildlife. This is the Predator Free 2050 vision but to get there we need new tools. While 1080 operations and trapping networks remove most introduced predators from an area, getting the remaining animals is a challenge. The last stoats can be particularly … Continue reading Zeroing in – toxic rodents lure last stoats

A technician preparing a drone.

X marks the spot: toxin drone drops to tackle tricky terrain

Boots on the ground and 1080 applied over large areas can control about 95 percent of possums, rats and stoats. But what about that last 5 percent? Craig Morley and Philip Solaris believe precision drone technology is the solution to bridge that elusive gap. And they’ve been developing drones, bait pods and sensor technology to do just … Continue reading X marks the spot: toxin drone drops to tackle tricky terrain

Codfish Island bush with blue sky.

Connecting with the cause: feeding kākāpō on Whenua Hou

What’s it like meeting Merv the kākāpō? Ask Jack Fifield – a 26-year-old Predator Free Apprentice passionate about his work in pest control. But, if you’d asked Jack 10 years ago where he’d be working today, he might’ve said marketing or economics. Instead, he’s feeding kākāpō in the pristine bush of Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) … Continue reading Connecting with the cause: feeding kākāpō on Whenua Hou

Image shows a group of Sika Foundation volunteers with Finn Giddy, walking in tussock grass heading to check trap lines in the Kaimanawa ranges for predators. 

Unusual offices: A glimpse at the life of a Taupō predator free apprentice

They say if you choose a career you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Technically, apprentice Finn Giddy works “bloody hard” – according to his boss Jason. But the fact he gets to work in his favourite places, doing what he loves, makes his chosen career more than just work. It’s a … Continue reading Unusual offices: A glimpse at the life of a Taupō predator free apprentice

How to keep your compost rodent free: A Q&A with an Expert from Compost Collective

Composting has many benefits: it enriches soil, reduces waste and is great for the environment. The Compost Collective is a collaborative project aimed at helping New Zealand households engage in composting and organic waste reduction. Thousands of New Zealanders are already composting, however, the bins may attract rats and mice to feast on your food … Continue reading How to keep your compost rodent free: A Q&A with an Expert from Compost Collective

Melissa Boardman in the forest

Appreciating what lies beyond the forest’s edge: Interview with Illustrator, Melissa Boardman

Melissa Boardman is an illustrator passionate about native birds, conservation and the environment. She frequently visits predator free sanctuaries across Aotearoa where she spends her time observing and photographing birds in their natural habitats.  Recently, Melissa published her first book, Birds of New Zealand: Collective Nouns, a beautifully illustrated hardback featuring over 90 native bird … Continue reading Appreciating what lies beyond the forest’s edge: Interview with Illustrator, Melissa Boardman

Aaron and Raine team up to tackle predators at Shelly Beach

On the Coromandel Peninsula, individuals and organisations are coming together to tackle predators and protect the local wildlife and stunning surroundings. This is just one of their stories. Aaron McFarlane and his family are first-time holiday park owners. “My parents bought Shelly Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park about 3 years ago,” Aaron explains, “The beachside … Continue reading Aaron and Raine team up to tackle predators at Shelly Beach

Yealands Estate adds trapping to their eco-friendly initiatives

Tara Smith is Sustainability Manager for Yealands Estate. The role is a new one – she started in May 2019 – but sustainability has been part of the Yealands vision since the vineyard’s beginnings in 2008. Recently the Yealands team have added predator trapping to their long list of eco-friendly initiatives. Each day Tara and … Continue reading Yealands Estate adds trapping to their eco-friendly initiatives

Oliver in the bush

Winton company takes on Motu Ngahere restoration project

On the Southland Plains near Winton, Motu Ngahere (‘Island of Bush’) is one of the very few original native bush remnants left in the area – literally an ‘island’ in the rural landscape. The name was chosen after seeking consultation with local iwi. “It’s the last lowland rata/broadleaf podocarp forest left in Central Southland, other … Continue reading Winton company takes on Motu Ngahere restoration project

A close up of the EnviroMate100

EnviroMate100 bait station delivers time-controlled ‘dinner dishes’

Shane Hyde of Kaeo (Whangarei) left school at 16 and spent years working on predator control and weed control projects, but ill health in 2006, after spraying herbicides, forced him to rethink how he approached the physically demanding outdoor work. The next few years weren’t easy – but ultimately those challenges inspired Shane’s development of … Continue reading EnviroMate100 bait station delivers time-controlled ‘dinner dishes’

Russell Orongo Bay Holiday Park wins Predator Free Award

Both kiwi and weka wander freely along the forest trails at Russell Orongo Bay Holiday Park and a total of 55 different bird species have been identified there, making the park a fabulous destination for nature-loving holidaymakers. Owners, Tori and James Burns encourage visitors to ‘Experience, Encounter, Explore’ the beautiful surroundings and have a long-running … Continue reading Russell Orongo Bay Holiday Park wins Predator Free Award

Photo of Hannah drawing a bird by hand

Wildlife artist, Hannah Shand, captures the personality of native birds

When Hannah Shand studied fashion at University, she would choose to do art-based projects and always enjoyed doing things by hand rather than on computer. As a graduate, she moved to Auckland for a job in a fashion workroom, and found the workroom job wasn’t as creative as studying at Uni. “I wanted to do … Continue reading Wildlife artist, Hannah Shand, captures the personality of native birds

Papa Taiao courses develop leadership and sustainable enterprise skills

Every three weeks, 2-3 senior students from most central Wellington high schools come together for an after-school workshop to help them hone the leadership skills they need to develop their own sustainable, environment-focussed enterprise or project. The workshops continue for the full school year, earning NCEA credits and are the latest initiative from sustainability and … Continue reading Papa Taiao courses develop leadership and sustainable enterprise skills

PekaPeka bird feeder is a winner for its Dunedin designers

Harvey Penfold is a product design student, in his final year at Otago Polytech, Tahu Mackenzie is LEOTC (Learning Experiences Outside the Classroom) Education Officer at Orokonui Ecosanctuary just north of Dunedin and together they’ve designed an innovative bird-feeder. The PekaPeka was designed and tested as part of a Citizen Science project that is ongoing … Continue reading PekaPeka bird feeder is a winner for its Dunedin designers

Image a track and native bush

Ruakuri’s unique karst landscape benefits from zero rat density

The Ruakuri Scenic Reserve, which includes New Zealand’s internationally renowned Ruakuri Cave, is an epic example of cave and karst landscape and sanctuary to New Zealand’s endemic and vulnerable fauna and flora, including long-tailed bats and bush falcons. It’s limestone country with caves and stalactites, limestone outcrops, tomo holes and disappearing streams. In recent years, … Continue reading Ruakuri’s unique karst landscape benefits from zero rat density

A group of volunteers

Protection and accessibility are key goals for Wharariki Onetahua Restoration

The first time that 80 double-trap DOC 200s were set out at the Wharariki Onetahua Restoration site they caught 29 rats and 25 stoats! Some traps caught two predators! Catching 25 stoats off 80 traps is an awesome total – but think about what that says about the sheer army of predators that wildlife at … Continue reading Protection and accessibility are key goals for Wharariki Onetahua Restoration

Hannah's invention

Rat-trapping compost bin disposes of rodent problem

What’s a broken-down washing machine got to do with backyard predator control? Not a trick question – just an example of the creative and inventive lengths some entrepreneurs will go to in order to nab rodent compost bin raiders. Hannah Smith in Auckland, had a problem. She wanted to recycle food scraps and garden waste … Continue reading Rat-trapping compost bin disposes of rodent problem

A shot from above of the fenced enclosure

Vision for buff weka drives Motatapu Station restoration

With a vision to re-establish the once-common buff weka, Motatapu Station near Wanaka is tackling habitat restoration and predator control on an impressively large scale. Just check out the numbers so far: What’s even more impressive, is that predator control on the ground is carried out by just three people – station supervisor Russell Hamilton, … Continue reading Vision for buff weka drives Motatapu Station restoration

DeBretts holiday park makes award-winning effort to control predators

Taupo DeBretts Spa Resort has a whole bunch of eco-initiatives in place to encourage their holiday park guests to reuse, recycle and reduce their impact on the environment. So when the family-owned business heard about Predator Free 2050, the owners and their 60 local staff were keen to get involved in predator control too. In recognition … Continue reading DeBretts holiday park makes award-winning effort to control predators

Two trappers in the forest

Towards a Predator Free Taranaki

A large-scale predator project, the biggest of its kind in New Zealand, was launched in Taranaki today supported by more than $11 million from the Government. Taranaki aims to be the first predator free region in the country under the project, called Taranaki Taku Tūranga – Our Place, Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki and is led … Continue reading Towards a Predator Free Taranaki

Trap and Trigger takes out Innovation Award

Jordan and Mikayla Munn are recent winners of $25,000 in the WWF 2017 Innovation Awards with their venture to use top-of-the-line, military quality, thermal imaging technology to detect and help in the removal of invasive animals. ‘Trap and Trigger Ltd’, the young couple’s conservation and wildlife management company, has already invested hugely in the technology … Continue reading Trap and Trigger takes out Innovation Award

The group of SmartTrap installation team

Robot in garage assembles Econode circuit boards

Behind the doors of ordinary Kiwi garages, some astonishing things are happening. Take, for example, a garage somewhere in the suburbs of Upper Hutt, where a robot is currently assembling circuit boards for the Econode designed remote trap sensor devices. Meanwhile, back at Econode ‘home base’ on Great Barrier Island, Matt Way is working in … Continue reading Robot in garage assembles Econode circuit boards

Prototype of the cacophany recorder

Open Source is key to bringing back the cacophony

Early New Zealand was noisy. Cook and his crew experienced a ‘cacophony of sound’ on their first voyage. It’s that loud, raucous, exuberance which Banks Peninsula engineer and inventor Grant Ryan is aiming to restore through an open source technology project he has initiated. “There are two key defining features about the Cacophony Project that make … Continue reading Open Source is key to bringing back the cacophony

Paul, Johan and Joyca with a trap on Lake Te Anau.

Tourists keen to contribute says UK-based travel specialist

“DIY – it’s in our DNA,” according to the TV advertisement slogan of a well-known New Zealand hardware chain. Kiwis pride themselves on their practical skills – their ‘can-do attitude’ and ‘do-it-yourself’ fixing skills – so when conservation budgets got smaller and the nation’s wildlife crisis continued to grow, ordinary kiwis rolled up their sleeves … Continue reading Tourists keen to contribute says UK-based travel specialist

Simon next to a kakabeak plant

Goats, stoats and possum-fur coats: it’s carnage out there

Guest blog by Peter Heath It’s dead. Very dead, judging by the stench and the smooshed appearance of the remains – all fur, bones and black-brown gloopy stuff. A possum, maybe? A rabbit? “It’s not just townies,” Simon says, smiling at my obvious disgust. “There’s plenty of debate among farmers and bush dwellers, too. One … Continue reading Goats, stoats and possum-fur coats: it’s carnage out there

Wren on a branch

Trust aims to be predator free from Glenorchy to the Sea

Formed in 2013, the Routeburn Dart Wildlife Trust (RDWT) is inspired by a vision of being predator free “from Glenorchy to the sea,” says trustee Amanda Hasselman. Working in collaboration with the Department of Conservation and the Hollyford Trust, with substantial sponsorship from Air New Zealand, the Trust aims to bring back the birdsong to … Continue reading Trust aims to be predator free from Glenorchy to the Sea

Going Native — Third Island rat catching with Goodnature by Paul Stanley Ward

I got a text from my mate Robbie, “Wanna come down Rakiura-Stewart Island and check some traps?” I’d never been to the ‘Third Island’, and had heard enough raves about backyard kaka and beaches chocka with kiwi to make my answer obvious. This bird nerd was raring for a range in Rakiura. Robbie is one … Continue reading Going Native — Third Island rat catching with Goodnature by Paul Stanley Ward