Trapping is used in Trust reserves to control mustelids (ferrets and stoats) and cats that can predate yellow-eyed penguins’ eggs, chicks and adults.
By controlling predator numbers, the objective is to minimize the opportunity for predators to encounter penguins. Trap lines are run year round at Okia, Otapahi and Tavora. Traps are cleared weekly during the penguin breeding season and fortnightly during the rest of the year.
A variety of traps are used, with the Mk6 Fenn still the most widely used on our reserves for mustelids. The Fenn is a kill trap, and on Trust reserves it is usually set in pairs, always within a tunnel to prevent access by non-target species.
Soft jaw Victor leghold traps and Timms traps are used for cats.
Ongoing new trap and lure development, especially by the Department of Conservation (e.g. DOC 150/200/250 series), Landcare Research and Lincoln University, offers the prospect of more humane and effective trapping systems.