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Thursday, 21 March 2019 01:14 pm

More dead rats and mice on Predator Free Northland’s agenda

Killing 238 rats and mice is just the start for Predator Free Northland, who want Wellington City Council to help to lift that number.

Tim Trengrove, left, is a passionate member of Predator Free Northland promoting the use of backyard traps to support kaka, tui and other threatened native wildlife.

The next step for the group is establishing a working relationship with the Wellington City Council.

“We are better doing it together rather than a piecemeal approach.” Mr Trengrove says.

Most of the organisation’s members aren’t from a conservation background.

“That gulf of knowledge is why working with the Wellington City Council means so much,” Mr Trengrove says.

Sean Thompson places his trap by the compost bin.

He became interested in trapping after watching a rat steal bread from a bird feeder in his yard.

“I realised this was ridiculous. I need to start trapping these rats.”

Predator Free Northland currently has 140 households with traps.

The group wants to change how people think about trapping.

“It’s about location.” Mr Trengrove says, who wants people to consider areas around their property like large sections of bush.

“Go to where the rats are, not just where the houses are.”

Homeowner Sean Thompson has two traps on his property.

He found out about Predator Free Northland by word of mouth and bought the traps.

Mr Thompson said the trapping is already helping wildlife.

“Seems like most of the rats are gone from around here.

Sean Thompson’s children Phoebe (4, left) and Leo (7) show an interest in conservation.

“Skinks are probably one of the first things we noticed coming back because that’s what the rats go for.”

“It’s just quite satisfying to find a rat in the trap.”

Neighbours are on board, but Mr Trengrove and Mr Thompson would love to get more households involved.

For bait, Mr Trengrove uses the classic peanut butter, bacon or dehydrated rabbit.

Mr Thompson uses a recipe of peanut butter, marmite, rolled oats, and golden syrup.

“It tastes pretty good actually,” Mr Thompson says.

The traps are sold with a trap tunnel and several bait cards by Predator Free Northland for $10.

Interested parties can contact Tim Trengrove at or visit



How to trap rats:
The preferred snare is called a Modified Victor trap in a trap tunnel.
The trap tunnel is a wooden box with wire over the entry.
A small hole in the wire lets in pests.
The trap is a standard Victor brand large rat trap that has a plastic shroud attached.
Mr Trengrove says the plastic shroud positions the pest’s spine in an optimal killing position, ensuring there are “no live captures.”
The trap has been designed to only allow rats and mice.
Birds or cats can’t get into the trap tunnel.
The traps have been tested by the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) to ensure they are humane and kill quickly.
NAWAC was set up under the Animal Welfare Act by the Ministry of Primary Industries.


Predator Free Northland wants to trap backyard bush, but they’ve got a lot of work to do.


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