As part of our “Schools Behind Our River” project, students from Rathkeale College recently chose an area of regenerating wetland bush bordering the Ruamahanga River to install a number of trail cameras to help capture photos of predators within the area.
The site monitoring project was supervised by John Bissell of Backblocks Environmental Management who provided guidance on use of chew cards, trail cameras and predator traps.
According to the photos, a wide range of predators exist within the area, which we will need to target — including feral cats! This area is also close to a river nesting habitat for extremely rare black billed gulls and is therefore an issue that can’t be ignored.
According to the DOC website, Hedgehogs are proven to be a major predator on eggs of riverbed breeding birds such as banded dotterel and black-fronted tern, and have been known to kill and eat chicks of a variety of ground-nesting birds.
If we want to create bird corridors from Pukaha to Kawakawa then we have to work towards the common goal of a predator Free New Zealand.
Schools Behind Our River has been supported with educational funding grants from Masterton Trust House and Eastern & Central Community Trust.