Backyard trapping on the rise

Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary community engagement co-ordinator Clare Cross admires a cabbage...
Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary community engagement co-ordinator Clare Cross admires a cabbage tree in the Dunedin Botanic Garden. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD
Pest trapping and backyard efforts to care for nature are ramping up in North Dunedin this spring, led by the team at Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary (Open Vue).

The organisation has recently received funding support to the tune of $85,000 from Predator Free Dunedin's City Sanctuary Project, Te Ao Turoa: Dunedin's Environment Strategy and the ECO Fund.

Community engagement co-ordinator Clare Cross said the funding allowed Open Vue to strengthen its efforts in a range of areas, including pest trapping.

‘‘We will be ramping up the trapping project and delivering Predator Free Dunedin's City Sanctuary Project within North East Valley, Opoho, Pine Hill, Liberton, Dalmore and Upper Junction,’’ Ms Cross said.

Community interest in the trapping project had continued to grow since it began in 2020, and there were now 120 participating households.

‘‘We are working towards having one in 10 households trapping by mid next year.’’

Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary community trapping co-ordinator Emily Peterson demonstrates fixing...
Open Valley Urban Ecosanctuary community trapping co-ordinator Emily Peterson demonstrates fixing a trap to a tree. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Newly-appointed Open Vue community trapping co-ordinator Emily Peterson will soon be helping Pine Hill community members to install possum traps in their backyards.

She would also provide backyard trapping support to new and existing backyard trappers, including trap maintenance services, Ms Cross said.

‘‘Emily has a passion for wildlife and her role helps Open Vue to deliver the Predator Free Dunedin City Sanctuary project within our North Dunedin area,’’ she said.

‘‘Her support means that households can ensure that traps are set up properly as well.’’

Trap installations would go ahead when Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.

Open Vue also has a trap library at the Valley Project community rooms, which includes monitoring tools such as chew cards, tracking tunnels and trail cameras, as well as rat traps.

Along with the trapping project, the recent funding supports the continuation of Open Vue’s ‘‘Backyard Ecosanctuaries’’ programme, which supports residents to take wildlife-friendly actions.

Emily Peterson. Photo: supplied
Emily Peterson. Photo: supplied
A collaboration between the Valley Project, Orokonui Ecosanctuary, University of Otago, and the community, Open Vue also contributes to habitat restoration through weeding and planting.

From time to time the organisation organises community working bees in the Chingford Park and Lindsay Creek area.

‘‘The valley is home to pest species, such as possums and rats, and some invasive weed species, such as sycamores, as well,’’ Ms Cross said.

‘‘It is very important that we work to remove these, and work to plant more natives, which provide food for birds.

‘‘We need to be particularly vigilant in spring, when we have many baby birds around.’’

With Covid-19 continuing to limit the public activities of Open Vue, planning is also under way for projects to be done over the summer.

Residents in North East Valley, Opoho, Pine Hill, Liberton, Dalmore and Upper Junction who are keen to be involved with the Open Vue project or Backyard Ecosanctuaries programme are invited to email openvue@northeastvalley.org.

To join the list for possum trap installations, particularly in Pine Hill, and backyard trapping support, email Emily Peterson at emily@northeastvalley.org

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