3000 rats trapped in Miramar – and counting
March 21, 2019
Predator Free Miramar trapped its 3000th rat in under two years on Wednesday.
The project to remove all non-native predators and restore native flora and fauna to the peninsula began in June 2017.
Project front man Dan Henry and friend Dan Coup manufacture wooden boxes in Coup’s garage and give the box-and-trap combinations away to Miramar residents.
After the project’s initial success, funding came from the Nikau Foundation, which links benefactors to community groups. This money allowed the group to buy more traps and box material.
More than 1225 traps are in gardens and reserves around the peninsula which have trapped more than 6,000 total predators, including rats, mice and weasels.
According to Henry, this time last year the traps had caught around 1,000 predators.
Henry said support from the public had grown exponentially over the last four months. “People are really into it, it’s taken on a life of its own!”
Mechanical traps are used instead of chemicals or pesticides, and Henry credits the success of the venture to the method’s reasonably non-threatening and non-controversial nature.
The group offers to remove animals caught by the traps for squeamish trap owners. Peanut butter is a cheap and accessible bait option.
While evidence of the project’s success is mainly anecdotal, residents are taking to the Predator Free Miramar Facebook page to post pictures of pīwakawaka (New Zealand fantail) and kererū (New Zealand pigeon) in their gardens.
Henry himself got in touch with me on Tuesday evening to share yet another sign of the difference the project is having. “We have a morepork/ruru calling right now here in Miramar north.”
He called the increased number of birds “a delight to see.”