I finally got around to setting up my traps! In Taranaki there is a huge push to eradicate pests to create a Predator Free NZ, and I cant wait to contribute.
When we lived in Raglan Whaingaroa I joined the Karioi Project and monitored two coastal traplines. During a working bee, using recycled materials I built my rat trap. It’s baited with peanut butter.
I also have a stoat trap that I have baited with one on chickens eggs. I have placed the traps out of the way, but close to my chicken coop. Stay tuned to see what I catch!
I have registered my project with trap.nz
“If you use a commodity or recourse carefully and without extravagance you will never be in need”
We have started a new initiative in our household, where we are cultivating as much produce as we can, using the seeds from the food we consume.
I bought a couple of capsicums from the supermarket, and instead of putting the seeds and stem into the rubbish, I can either add them to my compost or chuck them in the garden, adding nutrients, feed them to our chooks or our guinea pigs, or I can dry them and plant them, creating new plants!
Another thing we are doing is utilising our plastic waste as seed propagating trays. Meat trays, yoghurt pots, margarine containers, biscuit packets and a cut down milk bottle make prefect trays. A lidded container I bought nectarines in can be turned into a mini greenhouse. I have pine seeds growing in one! Our kids bring home all their lunchbox waste and we try to find a home for it all. The seeds from their apples, watermelon, peaches, nectarines and apricots get dried on the windmill before being planted in the garden. I t could take years before they grow, but better to have good habits that could result in a plant growing, than just added them to our weekly rubbish collection.
I think schools should be encouraging this practice. Students could be propagating plants and selling them in recycled plastic pots for fundraising!
The kids and I were pottering in the garden, when one of our lovely neighbours, popped over to let us know that there was a sea turtle on the beach! My future marine biologist children and I dropped our gardening tools and hurried down to the beach!
About 500m along, we could see the tracks in the sand, leading up to the sickly turtle.
The sea was rather rough that day and the turtle looked exhausted. We knew not to touch it, as turtle can carry diseases, but to protect it from dogs, walkers and quad bike riders we created a visual barrier around it using driftwood. My daughter found a bucket lid, which she used to try and get some water onto its drying our shell.
I phoned the Department of Conservation hot line 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 468) who advised us to keep watch over it and to continue to protect it from danger. The tide was on its way in, so we hoped it would return to the sea when the water came.
DOC rangers did arrive later that day and took the turtle to Massey University where specialist veterinarians assessed the turtle. They named her Waiinu. We were told that she had pneumonia and unfortunately died the following day.
Living by the sea you cant help but become connected to the moana ocean, and when you walk it almost daily its disheartening to see the array of plastic waste that continuously get washed in with each tide change. Some people just don’t see the waste. Their eyes glaze over the brightly coloured pieces of trash tangled up with the driftwood and seaweed. But once you open your eyes, and divert your footsteps in the sand, to fetch a piece of plastic from the rubble you wont walk past another ever again.
And that change in behaviour is what I hope to create by creating a wire whales tail sculpture, commissioned by the South Taranaki Creative Community Scheme.
When Maori ancestors arrived in New Zealand, kiore ‘rats’ came with them. Maori valued these rats as a food source. They built ingenious traps which they baited with kumura. When a kiore entered the opening its head slipped into a snare that tightened around its neck.
When Pakeha ‘Europeans’ arrived they brought with them domesticated livestock such as pigs, cattle and sheep. Once a delicacy, kiore fell out of favour.
Now days rodents and other animals such as possums, hedgehogs and stoats are considered pests as they compete with our native bird life for food and habitat. They also eat the eggs and young and attack the adults.
In Raglan Karioi Maunga te ki Moana are working to restore the biodiversity. One of the ways they do this is by monitoring over 800 traps deployed across Karioi Maunga and the Whangaroa coastline. It it through this organisation that we are fortunate enough to monitor 20 of these traps in a trap line surrounding Raglan Area School.
Karioi Maunga use the line to educate the school children, involving the students in trap setting, checking and monitoring. The information is recorded on trap.nz
This trap line gives me the opportunity to involve my children, ensuring they too grow up having respect for our environment and an awareness of conservation efforts necessary to protect vulnerable native species.