Get involved!

The animals and plants of Tōtaranui need your help now!

Arapaoa Island is the largest island in Queen Charlotte Sound / Tōtaranui and the thirteenth largest island in New Zealand at 75 km2 (7,500 hectares) with Narawhia being the highest point at 559m.

The island has the potential to be the largest predator free island in the Marlborough Sounds

The nation has a goal of being predator free by 2050. To achieve this there will need to be significant investment of time and money.

Some of the predators are carnivores and devastate birds, lizard and snail populations. Others damage the native vegetation by grazing, browsing, bark stripping and ground disturbance creating a “hollowed out” structure, lacking undergrowth.

Predators on the island include the following pests:

  • Mustelids (ferrets, stoats and weasels).
  • Rodents (rats and mice).
  • Feral animals (pigs, deer, possum, rabbits, goats, cats).
  • Wasps.

Domestic stock (sheep, cattle, deer, horses, goats) also need to be controlled by robust fencing to keep them in their paddocks.

Predator control methods are tailored for specific species and designed to reduce the potential risk to native species.

It is important to plan the predator control campaigns to ensure that they are maximising spatial coverage while mindful of the required ongoing maintenance and available volunteers.

Once the island is shown to be predator free then the Department of Conservation will be able to reintroduce species that once called the island home.

The biggest threat to kiwi chicks is stoats, while dogs are the biggest threat to adult kiwi, so to be able to get Kiwi back on the island we need to focus on these predators.

You can help protect our native birds

Step 1: Identify what predators you have

It’s important to know what predators you’re targeting to ensure you use the right bait and trap. There are three easy ways to find out;
1. Look for any signs of predator activity eg poo or teeth marks on fruit. The Pest Detective is a great website for identifying pest poo if you aren’t too sure!
2. Teeth marks left on chew cards can help identify exactly which predators are paying you a visit. They also tell you where in your backyard the predators are visiting and good places to put a trap.
3. Tracking tunnels are another great way to identify predators. The predator walks through ink on a pad, leaving clear footprints you can use for identification.

Step 2: Get a suitable trap

Once you know which predator you’re dealing with, it’s time to select your trap. Follow Predator Free NZ best practice guide to find out what trap you’ll need.
Victor Professional trap and wooden tunnel.
Once your trap arrives make sure your read the safety instructions to ensure you know how to use it safely. Then you’re ready to start.
The best place to put your trap is where you have had bite marks on chew cards, this means predators are willing to stop and feed in that location. For best results make sure your trap is flat and stable, and the ends are clear.
Make sure you always wear gloves when handling your trap and catches.

Step 3: Prepare your backyard

Create an environment that makes your trap desirable for predators.
  • Make your trap the best spot to snack by removing water and other food sources.
  • If you provide water for birds, use a birdbath rather than a dish on the ground.
  • Never put meat scraps in your compost. If other food scraps are encouraging rats and mice, consider composting food using a bokashi bin and keeping your compost heap for garden waste.
  • Pick up fallen fruit and pick fruit off your trees as soon as it ripens.
  • Predator proof your hen house.
  • Consider whether a Bokashi composting system might work for you.

Get involved!

The animals and plants of Tōtaranui need your help now!