Project mahitahi and trapping

NMTBC are proud to be working with Project Mahitahi which is a ground-breaking collaborative effort to restore the ecosystem of the Maitai/Mahitahi Valley.  As part of the project, Project Mahitahi have employed two people who are spending 32 hours per week working on the control of possums in the water catchment.  They need to control possums for a number of reasons: water quality by reducing E.coli inputs from feral animals, protection of flora as there is widespread damage on our native trees from possums, and the damage done to native species including Powelliphanta, Gecko, and native bird species.

The control is taking the form of periodic cyanide poisoning, but is primarily through trapping.  The trappers have permission to use leg hold traps, and these are monitored and maintained legally.  The traps have been purchased through funds under the Jobs for Nature programme, and the trappers are paid through Jobs for Nature. The trappers’ income is supplemented by obtaining fur from the possums, hence the use of leg hold traps.

We appreciate that some people find the use of leg hold traps disturbing. It is however, done legally and humanely with traps placed above ground so as not to be a risk to dogs or weka.  Controlling pest animals is never a nice thing, no matter how it is done, but it is necessary to protect this special environment.

Last week, the trappers came across a number of traps that had been sabotaged, destroyed by rocks or removed altogether.  This was in the area of Big Hill (near 629).  Unfortunately, whoever did this also tried to kill the possums but apparently did a poor job of it, leaving one of the trappers to have to dispatch the poor animals who had suffered more than necessary.

Please note that this is a legitimate operation, approved by Council, and funded through limited Project Mahitahi budget.  Please help the project by keeping an eye out for anyone who may be destroying Project Mahitahi property and thereby undermining the work they are trying to achieve there and making it an even more special place to ride our bikes