Robin re-introduction to mainland looking positive
A trapping trial at Pitt Head is showing encouraging results with rat numbers down to a level that should allow robins to be released into the area.
The Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust has been running the trial of around 200 Goodnature A24 resetting rat traps at Pitt Head since November 2012. In August, DOC’s survey of rat tracking tunnels found rat numbers at 3%, compared to 30% in other areas of the Park.
Project Janszoon has funded the trial and Director Devon McLean says the results are very encouraging, especially as the survey was done in the middle of the beech mast when more rats should have been around.
“On the face of it the level of two traps per hectare seems to be doing the job of keeping rat numbers down to acceptable levels. If we get a similar result in November we will be able to consider releasing robin at Pitt Head sometime next year,” he says.
The Goodnature A24 Resetting Rat Trap is powered by CO2 gas and each trap can reset itself 24 times. Abel Tasman Birdsong Trust volunteer Allan Barker and his team established the network of traps and check them every month to refresh the bait.
“There were some initial teething problems with leaking gas canisters but all of the traps have now been upgraded and the changes they have been made have really made a difference. We feel like they are working really well now and that’s why we are doing it – to provide a safe haven for native birds and see robins released back on the mainland,” says Allan.