Mt Hutt users are waging war on the pest population in the hope of restoring an endangered kea population.
Bike Methven, having recently added new predator traps to an established setup by Mt Hutt Ski Area, has started its trapping programme after receiving a $6000 grant from the Ashburton District Council.
Secretary Claire Harden said the club had purchased five small rat and stoat traps and two state-of-the-art possum traps that were proving quite effective, with one taking down six possums in its first five days.
“We had a lot of reports of stoats, ferrets, and possums last year so thought we would help try and get on top of it, Harden said.
The club would look to seek further funding to get more traps to help restore the native wildlife.
As well as removing pests, the club was working to eradicate wilding sycamores from the area.
Bike Methven’s efforts would work alongside Mt Hutt Ski Area’s established trapping and planting programmes.
Mt Hutt spokesman Richie Owen, who is also the Methven Community Board deputy chairman, said they now had 70 traps and have had over 800 successful kills in four years.
He said regular checking and baiting of the lines would commence by Mt Hutt staff during the summer months.
The ski area has also planted around 6500 native trees in the Mt Hutt forest area adjacent to the access road and a corridor running down the dry creek riverbed.
The trapping and planting have meant that bird life was increasing, which Owen said was a good sign.
“There has been a steady increase in Kereru and Kārearea NZ Falcon sightings.”
The hope is to see the endangered kea population return to the mountain because there used to be about 25 birds in the area until four years ago.
- By Jonathan Leask