Automatic traps protect Native Island from rats and possums

Native Island is a small inshore island - only 80 metres off Stewart Island, southeast of the Ringaringa Passage. Covered in beautiful native bush, not long ago it was home to possums and rats in numbers that were out of control.

The rats posed a serious threat to the island’s native birds (kaka, miromiro, weka, bellbirds and fantails). The possums threatened the native bush on which the birds depend.

In 2011, we teamed up with the Department of Conservation (DOC) to get on top of these pests.

Keeping the rats and possums under control would create a haven for the birds and give the bush a chance to thrive.

DOC committed 120 of our A24 automatic resetting rat traps, and 40 of our A12 traps for possums. We contributed five passionate volunteers who over four days mapped where the traps should go, cut the tracks, installed the traps, and monitored the network’s impact over time.

After 8 weeks, the number of rats almost halved. After 12 months, it was zero.

In partnership with DOC, we helped solved one of the biggest and ongoing challenges for Native Island: reinvasion.

Given the island’s close proximity to the mainland - within swimming distance for a rat - the network of automatic traps acts as a biosecurity tool. Because the traps automatically reset themselves, they’re ready-and-waiting for the next rat or possum to try its luck.

“The Goodnature automatic traps sit in our toolbox because they’re the only non-toxic way for us to knock down and control rats, stoats and possums, besides single-action methods which are highly labour intensive. The automatic resetting traps reduce our labour cost by 75%.” – Darren Peters, DOC

Keeping possums and rats under control for over 8 years on Native Island shows that with a well-planned network and minimal maintenance, anything is possible. Whether we’re tackling pests on small islands or large mainlands, we’re proud to play a part in New Zealand becoming predator-free.

Curious to learn more about the Native Island project? Watch how our A24 traps control rats on Native Island in Southland, New Zealand - a world first!