Updated: Mar 19
In December 2020 STNN applied to the Waitākere Ranges Local Board for a grant to purchase four trail cameras to:
Monitor grey faced petrel burrows. With the idea of trying to protect them by understanding which pest animals we need to work at removing. Also to monitor the birds behaviour and see how many petrel chicks survive to adulthood.
Observe interactions of pest animals with traps and bait stations.
Monitor other parts of the STNN area where we think there may be pest animals.
We were thrilled to be advised in January 2021 that we had been awarded $1,000 for the purchase of the cameras, to allow STNN to purchase the four cameras, STNN contributed to cover the actual cost. STNN have bought four of these cameras: Browning Trail Cameras, along with SD memory cards and batteries.
Grey Faced Petrels
We are currently trialing the cameras at STNN member's properties and at a reserve in the STNN area where we have grey faced petrels nesting. The petrels usually start to come to land and set up their burrows (they dig a tunnel into the hillside) around May or June. They generally produce a single chick around July or August which they leave behind in the burrow. They return at regular intervals to feed the chick which usually fledges and leaves the burrow in December or January. And then the whole cycle repeats. The parents come back to the exact same burrow each year, so it is important that we discourage any pest animals around or in the burrows.
Pest Animal Interactions with Traps
We are also interested in using the cameras to give us an insight into how new traps work i.e. how the pest animals interact with them. For example we are trying a new possum trap called a Trapinator. And we would like to know how well it works. Do the possums walk right past it? Investigate it but not get caught? Or get caught first time every time? By having a camera fixed on these trap sites we can gain more information on how the possums behave and how successful the traps / bait are.
There are pieces of land within the STNN area where we currently don't have traps or bait stations set up. So before we do so, it is often good to know what is there. Rats? Mice? Possums? Mustelids? We can set a camera up and just observe what goes past. And also, a non toxic lure can be dripped onto the base of a tree so that it attracts animals - and a camera pointed at that. Meaning that we can then set the correct trap and bait for the pest animal that frequents that area.
These new cameras will allow us to monitor, gauge and better understand the pest animals, and which traps work the best. Alongside using the trap.nz app we can get a fuller picture of how well the traps are doing or where we need additional work.
If you'd like to know more about the trap.nz app take a look at our website.