Want to form a group and protect the native species in your area? So how do you kick things off?
We spoke with a few established groups to find out what they wish they’d known at the very start, and this quick guide covers the most common questions and issues. If you think we’ve missed anything vital here, please email us.
1. What are you trying to achieve?
Which plant(s) or animal(s) are you most interested in protecting and which predator(s) are you targeting? What area(s) will you cover? What is the scope – are you looking to eradicate rats from the area in five years, or 20? How many people will you need, and when? Who’s leading the project and how will you communicate? It’s a lot to consider, but the clearer and more specific your goals at the beginning, the more likely you are to achieve them.
2. Monitor first and trap later
Do you want to get rid of some predators and make things safer for our unique native species? That’s a great place to start, but removing a few rats might not make a difference to your local plants and animals. You’ll need to remove enough rats.
How will you know you’ve caught enough? That’s where monitoring comes in. It’s a fascinating peek into the changing state of your local nature.
3. Plan, collaborate and learn
Type of area
- Consider the land you intend to work on— is it a forest, wetland or stream area. You will need guides on navigating different types of terrain. Naturespace has a handy list of resources.
- If there’s a private landowner involved, you will need their approval in advance. If the land is public (i.e. overseen by DOC or local authorities), you’ll still need to keep them in the loop. Have a chat to DOC and your local environment council for advice on land ownership permissions – they may also be able to help with the various grants available and they have heaps of knowledge and experience when it comes to predator control.
- Every workplace has health & safety hazards, especially outdoors. Traipsing through rugged terrain? Dealing with intense weather conditions? Setting and maintaining traps? Your group needs to be well-informed on how to handle safety issues. WorkSafe has some comprehensive resources, Conservation Volunteers offers safety workshops for community groups, and Wellington City Council has created a safety guide for volunteers.
- There is a range of funding opportunities available within NZ to help support predator control, and we have listed some of them here.
- Basically, each area is unique so chat to the experts and be prepared for a few learning curves along the way. You’ll need advice on the types of traps available and their suitability for your group. Choosing the right baits and pre-feeding, especially for rats, is also really important.You may need to invest in a few power tools if you’re out in the bush. Talk to specialty power equipment shops first and invest in good equipment. Avoid chainsaws unless you’re a professional.
For more information view the following pages: