Within Lake Wanaka are four islands – Mou Waho (120 ha), Te Peka Karara (65 ha), Mou Tapu (120ha) and Ruby Island (3 ha).
The Department of Conservation in association with community groups are working to create pest free haven’s on the largest three islands.
Their work has already permitted buff weka to be returned to the islands.
The work to ensure pest free status never stops. A key threat is the Norway Rat.
The Norway Rat is a real beast – it can weigh more than half a kilogram and (with its tail) extend more than 40cm.
The Norway Rat can also swim. The distance to the islands from the shore of Lake Wanaka poses no issue.
Furthermore the Norway Rat is smart – to catch them requires a sophisticated trap. The design needs to reflect lessons learnt in the wild. What worked well two years ago does not work so well now – Norway Rats also learn!
The team at the Menshed operating from the Wanaka Community Workshop have been working on a batch of rat traps – traps of the latest design targeting Norway Rats.
The traps will make a difference on the ground for our endangered species.