Pest trap shown at MoU function

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry talks to Tussock Innovation’s Jesse Teat (left) and Mark...
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry talks to Tussock Innovation’s Jesse Teat (left) and Mark Butler (centre) about their pest trap sensor device. Photo: Christine O'Connor.
A Dunedin electronics firm  showed off its latest GigCity-funded environmental initiative yesterday as city organisations gathered  to help make Dunedin predator-free.

A sensor that communicated via the internet when a pest trap had been tripped was on display at an event where 19 organisations signed up to the Predator Free Dunedin memorandum of understanding at Orokonui Ecosanctuary.

Predator Free Dunedin links the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group’s Pest Free Peninsula project and the Landscape Connection Trust’s Halo project with the work of other Dunedin groups involved in predator management.

The signatories were Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki, Te Runanga o Otakou, the Otago Chamber of Commerce, Landcare Research, University of Otago, Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council, Department of Conservation, Otago Polytechnic, Ospri and 10 charitable community organisations.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry and Prime Minister Bill English were on hand for the signing of the memorandum, which aims to create a haven for wildlife in the wider Dunedin area.

Under the memorandum, the parties agree to work co-operatively to develop a city-wide management plan that aligns with the Government’s Predator Free 2050 target.

It will build on existing Dunedin projects and incorporate research, education and operational objectives.

Tussock Innovation’s Jesse Teat and Mark Butler have been working with the Halo project, which works to protect the area beyond Orokonui Ecosanctuary, to develop the trap sensor. Mr Teat said his company had developed the sensor, which enabled people to quickly reset the traps, with help from a GigCity grant. 

Halo Project manager Rhys Millar said the sensors would also allow data to be gathered on what pests were common in what area, and provide motivation for community volunteers, who would be able to see the outcome of their work.

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