Similarly we have all admired and wondered about the valiant efforts of Didymo Dave and his extermination of rats and stoats etc. on the Hinemaiaia River and elsewhere.
But is trapping really effective?
In case you imagine his efforts are in vain (?) consider the following:
10,000th pest caught
Fifteen years ago a newly-formed group set up to trap predators at Pukawa caught its first rat. It was September 9 2002.
The remainder of them has been possums, hedgehogs, stoats, weasels, cats and mice.
It’s a huge achievement for a trust which relies solely on volunteers and grants and has 194 hectares with 15 trap lines to cover. (Each trap line has between 12 and 25 numbered traps.)
Trust secretary Jean Stanley (87 years young!) says the idea to target pests and predators came about in 2002 at a community get-together at the bush-clad village, when somebody asked why, with all that bush around, were there no birds to be seen?…..
Despite 15 years of being hammered, the pests just keep on coming, Jean says. But without the trapping the bush would be completely silent. “We’re still catching 40 or 50 rats a month…”
From that walk alone I can confirm trapping is effective as the bird life was just fantastic.
I had to stop for several minutes just to listen, entranced by their orchestra. (So who needs 1080 when you have local residents like these?)
An example of their commitment is their custom designed 5 star weta hotel – but you really need to go there to see it….
Imagine if this same sense of community responsibility and pride was infectious throughout the rest of NZ?