Monitoring the effects of trapping

 Inky hedgehog footprints.

Inky hedgehog footprints.

This autumn we’ve started up a monitoring programme in the Inner Halo, to gain a measure of the effectiveness of our predator control over time. The project involves a network of tracking tunnels and chew cards, which we can use to estimate pest population sizes by looking at what proportion have footprints or chew marks left behind by the pests. The lines will be checked four times a year, and are in three habitat types: native forest, exotic forest (pines) and pasture. In this very first check of these lines, we’ve seen a lot of rodent and hedgehog prints in particular, which matches what we’re seeing in our traps – ship rats and hedgehogs are the two most commonly caught predators. Being able to report on how our trapping programme is performing is an important part of making sure we’re catching as many of the predators as possible.

Rhys Millar