Traps boost for native animals

The Paradise Trust has received an $8000 biodiversity grant - its first from the Department of Conservation (Doc) - which could lead to the introduction of the Buff Weka into the Paradise Valley.

Trust spokeswoman Mandy Groshinski said a successful increase in the number of feral species removed as a result of the new traps could allow the flightless bird species, which is endemic to New Zealand and incredibly rare, to be released in the area.

She said the funding was the beginning of many new and exciting conservation projects for the 120ha of land near Glenorchy, protected by the Paradise Trust.

The grant would pay for of 25 new trapping systems per year over the next three years, up from the existing 10 traps.

The system required the traps to be checked weekly in summer and fortnightly during the winter months.

The new upgrade would make a flag appear on the traps when triggered, making them easier to spot and raising awareness through guests and visiting tourists.

The Paradise Valley was already home to a number of nationally threatened species including the long-tailed bat which had been under constant threat from rats, mice, possums and stoats.

The discovery of the long-tailed bats in Paradise Valley was particularly important because bats had developed a strong homing instinct and had been difficult to transfer to other conservation zones.

The presence of the bats' communal roosting areas in Paradise was vital to Doc and was proven to be a drawcard for visitors who enjoyed ''bat spotting'' at dusk.

The Paradise Trust was established as the funding machine behind major restorations and renovations of the Paradise Homestead and Cottage accommodation, destroyed by fire on May 23.

- Ellie Honeybone