14 February 2018

Goodnature Trap Tackles Most Voracious Invasive Species

New Goodnature trap tackles most voracious global invasive species A18 self-resetting trap targets small Indian mongoose in Hawaii, American mink in Scandinavia and eastern grey squirrel in the United Kingdom – early projects...
Goodnature Trap Tackles Most Voracious Invasive Species

A18 self-resetting trap targets small Indian mongoose in Hawaii, American mink in Scandinavia and eastern grey squirrel in the United Kingdom – early projects indicate significant eradication success.

Wellington, February 2, 2018 – Conservation technology company Goodnature has added another trap to its fleet to target some of the world’s most voracious and invasive predator species.

The A18, named due to the fact it self-resets 18 times, has been created to target and control small Indian mongoose in Hawaii, American mink in Scandinavia and eastern grey squirrel in the UK.

Goodnature creates the world’s most advanced trapping technology for eradicating pests that kill our native species, thereby halting biodiversity decline and allowing endangered populations to recover. Each of Goodnature’s traps has been designed to target specific species: the A12 for possums, A24 Smart Trap for rats and stoats, and now the A18 for small Indian mongoose, American mink and grey squirrel.

The A18 trap has been developed to suppress larger invasive pests around similar weight, 500 grams – two kilograms, as more powerful technology is needed to trap mongoose, mink and grey squirrel than is required for most invasive species found in New Zealand. The A18 includes a bigger power unit which in turn generates a more powerful strike to the skull while retaining the light triggering that these traps have become renowned for.

While the A18 is the same design for mongoose and squirrels, there are specific trap modifications for each species. Non-toxic pastes which attract each species have also been developed and will be deployed in automatic dispensers for each trap.

“Small Indian mongoose, American mink and grey squirrels are very detrimental to biodiversity in many parts of the world,” Goodnature co-founder and Design Director, Robbie van Dam says.

“The methods currently used to suppress these global invasive species are labour-intensive, costly, and are ultimately inefficient. Goodnature is fighting the war against introduced predators in New Zealand, and the release of our A18 trap is another step towards our global ambition of suppressing some of the world’s most invasive species to protect very unique species.”

Small Indian mongoose project in Hawaii

In November 2017, the Goodnature team and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) ran a field-test of the A18 trap targeting small Indian mongoose at Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge on Oahu island in Hawaii.

The project saw 20 Goodnature A18 mongoose traps deployed over a 20ha area at Pearl Harbor, with the aim of demonstrating that the A18 trap is an effective way of controlling mongoose.

The results were extremely positive, with mongoose numbers dropping by 60 percent within the first few days of the trial. Ongoing results continued to see the numbers and the capture of re-invading individuals decline. The success of the project provides good evidence for setting up trap networks across larger areas.

Mongooses were introduced to Hawaii in 1883 to control rats at sugarcane plantations and have been directly implicated in the extinction of six native species since their arrival. Like stoats on steroids, mongoose breed throughout the year, can produce up to 14 kits per litter, and have densities of 10 to 15 per hectare.

Because of Goodnature’s expertise in developing multi-kill traps for other pest species, the USFWS contracted Goodnature to create the A18 mongoose trap, a tool to target small Indian mongoose.

To date, the most common control method for mongoose in Hawaii is live and kill trapping. This requires intensive labour as traps must be checked daily to reset traps and dispatch any captured animals.

The USFWS has been searching for a high-quality, efficient tool to target mongoose that can endure Hawaii’s harsh, rugged environment without needing regular maintenance. The A18 will enable the USFWS to deploy traps on larger tracts of the landscape with a lower overall cost.

Goodnature has developed an innovative mongoose trap for the USFWS and its conservation partners that has lower running costs than traditional traps, is easy to deploy and removes the need to handle dead animals.

Humaneness trials will be undertaken in April to confirm the A18 mongoose trap is humane, non-toxic and kills mongoose instantly. However other Goodnature traps, such as the A24 rat and mouse trap and the A18 grey squirrel trap, have passed rigorous humaneness testing and meet the Ministry of Primary Industry's National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee's guidelines (MPI NAWAC), United Kingdom’s Spring Traps Approval Order, and humane standards in Europe. It’s expected the A18 mongoose trap will pass humaneness testing on Hawaii.

American mink project in Scandinavia

In December 2017, Goodnature A18 mink traps were sent to Scandinavia as part of a project to target the invasive American mink.

American mink, an aquatic mustelid species related to stoats, have had a devastating effect on wildlife in Scandinavia since they were introduced to Europe for fur-farming in the 1920s.

The aim of the project is to decrease the population of American mink, in an effort to protect native species and increase the biodiversity in Scandinavia.

Goodnature’s Scandinavian distributor is training project staff in Norway, Finland and Sweden on how to use and deploy the A18 mink traps. These staff will undertake the A18 trap trial on the ground in those countries in the coming months.

Grey squirrels project in the United Kingdom

Goodnature’s A18 grey squirrel trap recently passed the UK’s Spring Trap Approval Order: the humane testing necessary for a predator trap to be legally used the United Kingdom and Europe.

The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is making amendments to the Spring Trap Approval Order to include the A18 grey squirrel trap. The trap is due to become commercially available in June this year in the UK only.

The UK has an estimated population of 2.5 million grey squirrels which have had a detrimental effect on the native red squirrel.

The grey squirrel is recognised as the main threat to survival of the native red population, as they are larger, capable of storing up to four times more fat, have an ability to produce more young, and live at higher densities. Due to the grey squirrel’s ability to outcompete the native reds, it has caused localised extinctions of red squirrels.