Project to tackle possum problem

Chain Hills Community Trapping Project founder Rebecca Guest has used Timms traps to dispatch more than 40 possums on her 17ha property in Chain Hills and has invited her neighbourhood to unite in the battle. Photo: Shawn McAvinue
Chain Hills Community Trapping Project founder Rebecca Guest has used Timms traps to dispatch more than 40 possums on her 17ha property in Chain Hills and has invited her neighbourhood to unite in the battle. Photo: Shawn McAvinue

A trapping project has been launched to control the possum population of Chain Hills.

Chain Hills Community Trapping Project founder Rebecca Guest said she had bought 15 traps and killed more than 40 possums on her 17ha property in Chain Hills in the past few months.

‘‘There’s a whole load of possums out there and they’re big.’’

She and her family had lived on her property for five years and since the trapping started, she had noticed more birds on her property, including bellbirds, fantails, kereru, silvereyes and tui.

‘‘We’ve seen heaps of baby ones, which we’ve never noticed before.’’

To give the birds a chance, she needed help in her battle against possums and has asked her neighbours to unite in the fight.

Earlier this month, she put about 100 fliers in letterboxes in Flower St, Chain Hills, Friends Hill and Gladstone Rds to canvas interest in the project.

The flier had a list of possible ideas which could be implemented if a group was formed.

The ideas include establishing a trap library, holding community trapping days and trapping seminars, applying for funding to support the project and linking to the Predator Free Dunedin initiative.

More than 20 landowners had shown interest in the project since the flier drop.

She hoped the project would progress so the group could establish a charitable trust, so it could apply for funding to develop a battle plan targeting possums, stoats, ferrets and rats.

‘‘We can all tinker around and catch a few possums but to make it truly effective we have to be quite strategic and make it sustainable.’’

The project would be a chance to build a stronger community and connection with the land, she said.

Dr Guest is a marine scientist and chairwoman of Fiordland Marine Guardians, a community-led initiative to manage the Fiordland marine area.

‘‘I’ve got a background of bring communities together to get things happening.’’

The first meeting of the trapping project is at Fairfield Community Hall, in Fairplay St, from 7pm on Wednesday. All welcome.

To register interest for the project contact Dr Guest by email at rebecca_j_ mcleod@hotmail.com.

 

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