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Conservationists shocked at theft of predator traps at Okura Bush – DOC

More than 25 predator traps have been stolen from the Okura Bush Scenic Reserve on Auckland’s North Shore, shocking conservation group Friends of Okura Bush, Te Kawerau ā Maki and the Department of Conservation (DOC).

Predator Pest Control Coordinator and avid volunteer for Friends of Okura Bush Jo Crawford discovered the theft of the conservation group’s traps when she checked the trapline last week.

“With the presence of kauri dieback disease and all the slips from last year’s adverse weather events, and now this second theft, it just constantly feels like the odds are against us.

“It’s coming up to peak trapping season and now we have no predator traps left in this area to protect our precious native species. I’m devastated. This is the second time now on this section of track that traps have been stolen – the last time was December 2022,” says Jo.

The stolen traps included a number of DOC200 and DOC250 traps, as well as KaMate traps and Flipping Timmy traps for possums. Most of the traps were bolted to trees or bases and have been ripped off.

The DOC series traps had the word ‘FoOB’ stencilled in black on the top, along with a Caution Pest Trap sign. The KaMate trap boxes were all an older wood design, with black corflute tops.

Te Kawerau Iwi Tiaki Trust CEO Edward Ashby says: “Te Kawerau a Maki are deeply disappointed to hear about the theft of these traps, which undermines the efforts this community group is undertaking to rid the reserve of pests.”

The trapping supresses mammalian pests in the forest to support its overall health. These pests consume native geckos, insects and forest birds, including their chicks and eggs. Rodents and possums also eat the buds, flowers, fruit, berries and nectar of our native trees, preventing new growth and reducing food for native species.

Tōrea pango/ variable oystercatchers and tūturiwhatu/ New Zealand dotterel live on the coastline in this area, and are also vulnerable to pests.

DOC Senior Ranger Stefan Sebregts is asking the public to come forward with any information on the whereabouts of these traps.

“This theft is absolutely gut-wrenching. If you have any information on who has taken these traps or what has happened to them, please come forward to the police.”

You can call the police on 105 or go online to 105.police.govt.nz citing case file number: 240222/8706

The Okura Bush Walkway section between Haigh Road entrance and Karepiro Bay remains closed, due to significant land damage and kauri dieback disease. The closure is supported by a rāhui by mana whenua; Te Kawerau ā Maki, Ngāti Manuhiri and Ngāti Rehua Ngātiwai ki Aōtea. The section from Stillwater to Karepiro Bay (Dacre Cottage) remains open.

 

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