Stoat trap set on Horseshoe Island to protect breeding birds

Following the discovery of mustelid footprints on Horseshoe Island a couple of weeks ago, a stoat trap was borrowed from Department of Conservation in Warkworth.  On Saturday 9th June Whangateau HarbourCare members set the trap on the western end of Horseshoe Island amongst salt-marsh vegetation near where the footprints were seen.  This is the area that variable oystercatchers successfully nested in and raised chicks season before last.

It is hoped that the stoat or weasel on the island will be caught by the trap before the oystercatchers begin nesting for the coming season.  Breeding is not likely to be successful if this dangerous predator remains on the island.

The trap is baited with a hens egg.  An opening in one of the mesh ends of the trap box is big enough for a mustelid or rat to enter.  To reach the egg bait the predator has to cross a pressure plate which activates the mechanism and dispatches the animal quickly – rather like a powerful snap trap for rats.

The public are warned to keep hands away from the trap.  It will be checked regularly by Whangateau HarbourCare people, and will be removed from the island during school holidays when children often play on the island.

Weasel or stoat footprints on Horseshoe Island on 26th May









Elise and Karen setting up the stoat trap on Horseshoe Island near the nesting site of variable oystercatchers.

Stoat trap set and ready. The predator enters from the other end, steps on the pressure plate trying to reach the egg, and sets off the trap.











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