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Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary community engagement co-ordinator Clare Cross shows a couple of...
Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary community engagement co-ordinator Clare Cross shows a couple of pest traps that are available to local households through the new fortnightly trap library project. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
The Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary project (OpenVUE) has established a "trap library" to encourage local residents to trap pests in their back yards.

OpenVUE community engagement co-ordinator Clare Cross said 40 households in North East Valley and surrounding suburbs were already on board with the scheme, helping to trap possums, rats and mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets).

"And we are keen to encourage many more people to take action in their back yards by identifying and trapping pest species," Ms Cross said.

Established in September, the OpenVUE trap library is a fortnightly session where residents of North East Valley, Opoho, Normanby, Upper Junction, Pine Hill, Dalmore and Liberton can learn about and borrow traps to use.

Operating under the umbrella of Predator Free Dunedin, the traps are part of the Backyard Ecosanctuary Project and are funded through the Dunedin City Council Environment Strategy, Lotteries Environment and Heritage and Otago Regional Council’s Ecofund.

Ms Cross said the trap library was able to provide a variety of pest monitoring tools, such as ink pads for tracking footprints, chew cards for gathering bite marks and even motion sensors.

The traps themselves were modern and humane, as well as being easy to use, she said.

OpenVUE is a collaboration between The Valley Project, Orokonui Ecosanctuary and the University of Otago, which has a vision of creating a habitat corridor between the ecosanctuary and Dunedin city.

It also works to help preserve the biodiversity of the Lindsay Creek catchment by tackling a range of projects, from encouraging back yard pest trapping to removing weed species such as sycamores and replanting with native trees.

"And we really want to look after what is already here in this area."

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it had been impractical to try to organise large-scale community events, such as Creek Fest, so OpenVUE had focused its efforts on pests instead this year.

"Whenever we have held a hands-on project, we have had great support from the community — people are really keen to get involved."

Ms Cross said North East Valley was home to populations of many native species, including bellbirds, tui, kereru, native eels in Lindsay Creek, southern grass skinks, weta, red admiral butterflies and more.

"There is enormous ecological value within this area, and we want to support those species to thrive."

The fortnightly trap library is co-ordinated by Sala Tofa and runs every second Saturday, from 2pm to 4pm, at the Valley Project rooms on North Rd. The next session will be held on November 28.



Who decides what a 'pest' is?