Te Karaka kids send Waihirere Reserve pests packing

Department of Conservation —  19/12/2013

By Awhina White, DOC Conservation Partnership Manager, East Coast

It’s great to see the kids of Te Karaka Area School doing their bit to ensure native species are safe by keeping stoat numbers down at Waihirere Domain, in Gisborne.

DOC Ranger, Joe Waikari, shows Te Karaka students how to GPS their trap location, so that when they come back to check the trap-line they can find the trap again.

DOC Ranger, Joe Waikari, shows Te Karaka students how to GPS
their trap location, so that when they come back to check
the trap-line they can find it again

“Kids have been finding out about the importance of protecting our natural heritage; planting native trees at Te Wherowhero Lagoon; learning about the pest control programme in the Whinray Scenic Reserve; and doing the stoat trapping in Waihirere Domain. It’s a win-win: the native species thrive and the kids get to learn new skills,” says Ms Ranier Davie, a teacher at the school.

At a recent ‘bio blitz’, which surveyed native species in Waihirere Domain, it was great to discover taonga species like longfin eel, inanga and pekapeka (native bat) that are very rare and disappearing. It is really impressive how the school has turned awareness into action.

Te Karaka student, Courtney Fleming, hammers a pink triangle, indicating the trap number location, onto a nearby tree on the main track

Te Karaka student, Courtney Fleming, hammers a pink triangle, indicating the trap number location, onto a nearby tree on the main track

The kids each built and named their own box for a stoat trap, baited it with an egg, and put it out on the reserve.

What the kids are doing is very inspiring and I hope it encourages other schools to get involved in similar projects.

Pests such as stoats, ferrets and rodents are a major threat to native species. Control programmes to manage and remove pests are essential if we want our natural treasures to live alongside us in the forests and around the places we live.


Visitors to the reserve are asked to support the trapping programme by not disturbing these traps.