New predator traps hailed as a 'game-changer'

Originally published by Newshub – The AM Show- December 10, 2018

The Government's plan to achieve a predator-free New Zealand by 2050 is gaining momentum.

New rat trap technology allows real-time information to be accessed from a cellphone when a pest is caught.

Goodnature co-founder Robbie van Dam says it'll encourage everybody to protect the environment.

"Really accurate data from the work that's being done by thousands of community groups across the country - not only community groups, but conservation organisations as well, and getting accurate information from the source."

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage backs the initiative.

"I think these tools, because they're helping people track predators, are always good. It's another tool in the toolbox, and it will make it more efficient for people who are giving their time voluntarily to track predators."

The Government has so far launched predator free-initiatives in Wellington, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Dunedin and on Waiheke Island.

Mr van Dam says the Bluetooth-enabled traps are a game-changer.

"We're eliminating all of that wasted effort - all you have to do is wave your phone over the trap and pick up all the kill data. You have really accurate, time-sensitive and geo-located information, all the time…

"Over time it will help us catch more pests by allowing us to understand the effect of predator control, and where effective predator control happens."

Ms Sage says it's another tool in the toolbox.

"Devices like this because they alert people when they need to tend to the trap - you don't need to check every single trap."

And New Zealand isn't the only country that will benefit.

"What we're seeing too is a whole new export industry - these traps are now being exported and adapted for use of trapping mink."