Our baiting for the year is finished and our ‘rat tunnellers’ have trawled through the bush twice in 24 hours, putting 80 cards out in the tunnels and retrieving them 24 hours later. The cards were duly sent to Tertia Thurley at DoC Pureora for confirmation and our rat index was 5 out of 80 which equals 6%.
She says, “Despite a few rats present this is a really good result and will definitely provide for more fledglings this year from Okahukura, so well done to you all.”
There is still bait in many of the stations so this should be good for the breeding season.
One of our volunteers has a colleague who is very good with mapping from Excel programmes and has produced this map below of the bait uptake. 1,2,& 3 refer to ¼, ½, & ¾ of bait left in each station. E is empty, F full and NS not-stated. When we remove the last of the bait in February we will gather the data again, and plot another map to identify any changes. This will give us a pictorial overview which we can observe each year and pick the ‘hotspots’ for more focus, which should save us some effort and bait wastage too.
We may measure another rat index in the New Year to give us a better idea of the success of our programme and whether we should consider a 3rd baiting session next Spring. Meantime, we are looking forward to seeing our volunteers to empty the stations over the weekend of February 11/12th.