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Unprecedented 0% Pest Survival Rate in DOC Rat Control Trial

News release – For immediate release


27 February 2014

In wonderful news for birdlife, NZ developed automatic rat traps have totally eliminated predator rat populations during large-scale Department of Conservation (DOC) trials in native New Zealand bush.

Results just in from large-scale DOC trial sites confirm that the patented automatic trap technology developed by local company Goodnature has successfully reduced rat populations to undetectable levels.

Recent monitoring at the two large scale trial sites by DOC field personnel confirmed zero percent (0%) rat monitoring rates indicating rat populations in these areas had been completely eliminated.

The unprecedented 0% rat detection results contrasted with monitoring results on the adjacent comparison sites which showed that rat populations outside the automatic trap trial area continued to thrive.

This is excellent news at a time when the predicted rat population explosion threatens native birdlife in New Zealand forests. Kiwi innovation has produced another potent weapon in the war on pests and, importantly, a further option in the armoury which is toxin free and cost effective to deploy.

“The DOC trial results are consistent with what our customers in other parts of the world are achieving with our traps” says Stu Barr, director of Goodnature who make and supply the A24 automatic resetting traps. “The traps are reducing rat populations well below the level where our vulnerable and endangered species can rebound. We’ve taken the pressure off the birds and put it back on the rats.”

While being used effectively in New Zealand for rat, stoat and possum control, farther afield, Goodnature is applying its technology to pests in more than 15 countries. As well as widespread success in rat control around the world, automatic resetting traps to control introduced mongoose in Hawaii and mink in Scandinavia are in development.

Powered by a small compressed CO2 canister the commercially successful Goodnature traps automatically reset themselves after striking a pest and can kill up to 24 rats before the canister needs to be replaced. The multiple-kill traps include an effective long-life rodent lure which attracts rats to the trap.

“The traps are mostly known for our automatic resetting and multi kill technology but, just like fishing, an irresistible bait is critical to get a catch. This latest trial result shows how effective our rodent lure is in the field” said Stu Barr.

Pest control tools which can wipe out predator populations and sustain them at low numbers are critical to ongoing pest control efforts on public conservation land and efforts by the wider conservation community. The sustained control of predators allows native bird species to successfully breed and increase their populations.

"These rat kill results are very promising. It is a significant step towards having a better and more effective trapping option for predator control in New Zealand.” DOC Deputy Director General Kevin O’Connor commented.

Research and development of automatic resetting traps was originally initiated by Goodnature with DOC in 2006 to strengthen New Zealand’s ability to control pests at times when existing ground based networks using traditional tools would get overwhelmed at times when predator numbers rise rapidly.

About the trial
In October 2010 the Prime Minister John Key and the Minister of Conservation announced a pilot project to evaluate and contribute to the trialling and development of resetting traps as a result of co-operation between the Green Party and the Government.

The trial has been broken into three phases:
Phase I – preliminary field efficacy trials
Phase II – two year operational scale trials
Phase III – optimising project performance

This article relates to the rat control sites at Boundary stream 60km northwest of Napier and at Onepu in Te Urewera. Both sites are nearing the completion of phase II.

The government funded trial sites, at Onepu in Te Urewera and Boundary Stream northwest of Napier, set networks of A24 automatic humane kill-traps for rats in 2012 and have been upgraded to the latest

In total 1548 traps were deployed over the two rat control sites.

About the Goodnature A24 Automatic Humane Kill-Trap for Rats
Goodnature, with the support of the New Zealand Department of Conservation (DOC), developed the A24 automatic humane kill-trap for rats and stoats which went into commercial production in 2012. The current version of the trap and lure formulations were released in 2013.

Powered by a 16 gram compressed CO2 canister the Goodnature A24 automatic humane kill-trap for rats and stoats automatically resets itself up to 24 times per canister.

The traps contain no poison meaning zero risk of secondary toxicity to native species or pets.

Goodnature automatic traps use long-life lures for extended effectiveness in the field. The A24 uses a long life peanut lure developed specifically to attract rodents.

The A24 kills instantly and has been independently tested to meet the Class A NAWAC Humane Standard for both rats and stoats.

The traps are designed to be lightweight, safe and easy to install with the goal to enable everyone to get involved in pest control.

five rats+ two mice from Goodnature on Vimeo.

Official DOC monitoring results:
Green represents monitoring results within the project area. Red represents monitoring outside the project area which receives no pest control as a comparison.

Boundary Stream Mainland Island, Hawkes Bay

Onepu, Northern Te Urewera

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