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Trap expert snares prestigious award

Trap expert snares prestigious award

An expert on the development of welfare standards for pest control has received a New Zealand Science and Technology Medal this morning.

Bruce Warburton and his New Zealand Science and Technology medal, awarded this morning. Photo: Diana Leufkens.

The medals are awarded by the Royal Society of New Zealand to recognise outstanding scientific or technological research that has made an important contribution to New Zealand society.

Landcare Research scientist Bruce Warburton was one of five people named last year to receive a medal, and his medal was formally conferred at Landcare Research in Lincoln today. The honour recognises Mr Warburton’s contributions to the development of acceptable welfare standards for trapping a range of animals including possums, stoats, rats, feral cats, and ferrets.

For nine years Mr Warburton was a member of the National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC), which establishes codes of practice for a range of animal-related industries. He was also involved in developing guidelines for testing traps, which have resulted in welfare improvements of trapped animals both nationally and internationally.

Mr Warburton’s willingness to present his trap-testing results at workshops and his ability to promote constructive discussion of controversial topics have earned him the respect of contractors, farmers, pest control agencies and other researchers. His work alerted trap users to the poor killing performance of many commercially available traps, and has resulted in increased efforts by manufacturers to develop traps to a humane standard.

Internationally, Mr Warburton participated over an eight-year period as New Zealand’s representative on an ISO technical committee that developed an international standard for testing traps. He is regularly invited to present his research findings at scientific meetings.

Mr Warburton also helped to develop a humane kill trap, the Warrior kill-trap for possums, which has a New Zealand patent. The opportunity for marketing this trap has been handed to a New Zealand company, providing local employment and sales.

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