Possums, stoats and rats beware

21:49, Aug 27 2012
tdn possum stand
Stu Barr from Goodnature with the traps used to catch possums and stoats.

A compressed gas canister is providing a quick departure for Taranaki possums, stoats and rats - and environmental groups are thrilled with its effectiveness.

Stu Barr of Wellington company Goodnature spoke to a group of 40 at Bellringer Pavilion in New Plymouth yesterday afternoon, demonstrating the success and developments of their A12 possum trap and A24 rat and stoat trap.

The traps are powered by compressed carbon dioxide gas in a small recyclable canister that sends a piston into the pest's skull at high speed, killing it nearly instantly.

The gas canisters are the same as those used by cyclists to pump up tyres, and kill repeatedly without needing to be reset by hand.

The bait is cinnamon or aniseed flavoured oil, which is not toxic.

Mr Barr said the company joined forces with the Conservation Department in 2007 but the interest in the product by community environment groups and private individuals had soared.

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He said the company was continuing to develop the products by monitoring animal behaviour through video surveillance and improving lure formulations.

Darren Peters of the DOC national office said the product was the best on the market in terms of long term results and its humane method of killing.

He said the Goodnature team were genuine in their interest in preserving birdsong in our forests.

"They're not just business jokers out to make a buck; all the products are made in New Zealand."

Taranaki DOC ranger Dean Caskey said they had been using the A12 possum trap since October 2011, when they purchased 20 traps.

Since then they had trapped 390 possums in the eastern hill country.

"On the first night we had seven traps and caught 14 possums. If you have leghole traps you can only catch eight possums with eight traps."

Bob Schumacher of the East Taranaki Environment Trust said he was keen to support the creators of a product that he called "revolutionary".

He said they were running a trial with the possum traps funded by the World Wildlife Fund over an area of a thousand hectares.

Pest eradication required a lot of trial and error but they were working closely with Goodnature trialling the traps.

Taranaki Daily News