Mapua Dawn Chorus takes 'backyard' approach to conservation

Abby Boffa, project co-ordinator of Mapua Dawn Chorus that aims to trap rats and other predators in a backyard community ...

Abby Boffa, project co-ordinator of Mapua Dawn Chorus that aims to trap rats and other predators in a backyard community project.

A new conservation group is on a mission to make Mapua predator free by taking a "backyard" approach to pest control.

The Mapua Dawn Chorus is being set up by the Tasman Environment Trust with the goals of wiping out predators and protecting birdlife in the township.

The group secured funding from a partnership between Predator Free New Zealand and Kiwibank, which supports conservation projects in towns, suburbs and neighbourhoods.

Tasman Environment Trust chairman Gillian Bishop said Mapua was a "nice-sized" community to try and make predator free.

"I think the predator free New Zealand goal by 2050 is a fantastic, aspirational goal and it's fun when you get involved and it would be fantastic to see Mapua working towards becoming predator free," she said.

"We are pretty confident that the Mapua community will get in behind and make this successful."

The first mission for the Mapua Dawn Chorus was to try and eradicate or significantly reduce the number of rats in the community.

Bishop said the project would be more urban focussed, taking a "trap in every backyard sort of approach".

Mapua Dawn Chorus coordinator Abby Boffa said she had been trapping rats in her backyard since August last year and had already caught close to a dozen.

"Ideally, we'd love to have a trap in every fourth backyard."

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She said the project was about protecting the "fantastic" birdlife in the area.

Mapua was located on a peninsula and there was an opportunity to set up a network of traps and "defend the boundary" from predators, Boffa said.

"Ultimately it would be fantastic down the track to extend it through to Ruby Bay and establish a bit of a protective corridor for wildilife."

Mapua residents will be able to buy either resetting or conventional rat traps at discounted prices.

"The goal is to improve the survival of the birds and insects that are preyed on by predators in our environment," Bishop said.

"We're hoping that before too long the Mapua residents will see an improvement in increased birdsong and an increased presence of birds in their gardens."

The Mapua Dawn Chorus is hosting public drop-in days at the Mapua Hall on Saturday, May 20, from 11am-2pm and Saturday, June 10, from 10am-1pm.

 - Stuff

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