A Mārahau trapping group established during lockdown aims to build on the predator control work in the Abel Tasman National Park and create a “pest free halo” around the southern entrance.
Chris Palzer and Jared Bosecke from the Abel Tasman Ocean View Chalet are co-ordinating the new Mārahau Halo trapping group, which began trapping introduced pests during the alert level 4 lockdown in March.
They have since caught nearly 300 pests.
The group started with a few traps in the Mārahau estuary and Newhaven St and have since expanded with the support of residents, local businesses and conservation groups.
“It seemed like the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust had plenty of volunteers keen to trap in the park, so we thought why not start trapping outside, to provide a pest free halo around the southern entrance,” Palzer said.
“In Marahau, a lot of people do individual trapping and this is a way of pulling it all together.”
Since then donations have enabled the group to purchase materials and Project Janszoon has donated $4000 towards new traps which are due to arrive in September.
Bosecke said a trapping line had been established along Mārahau Valley Rd, with another planned for Harvey Rd which would run parallel to a trapping line in the park maintained by the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust.
Palzer said the group entered its trapping data into TrapNZ and they had already caught a stoat and weasel, which was very satisfying.
“The data will help us to see patterns, there might be a rat ‘super highway’ we don’t know about.”
Project Janszoon Director Bruce Vander Lee said it was fantastic to see Mārahau locals getting behind the halo project.
“Pests don’t respect boundaries and the trapping being done by Mārahau Halo and other groups like Takaka Hill Biodiversity Group, Project Rameka and the Otuwhero Trust complements the Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust, Department of Conservation and Project Janszoon trapping networks.
“By working together we can protect the park and locals will see the benefit with native birds like kākā and pāteke spilling out of the Abel Tasman.”
Mārahau Halo is keen to hear from anyone who might be keen to help with trap checks, and also from people with building experience who could help build trap boxes. The group’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org