Moa Conservation Trust Newsletter Spring 2015
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From the Chair 

This is our inaugural Newsletter – we’re planning on sending one out each quarter so you won’t get bombarded with information, but if you do want updates in between, or some background information, then you’ll be able to check out our website or facebook page once they’re up and running.

Fellow trustees, Hamish Midgely, Liz Stringer and Jamie McNaught laden like pack mules while installing the second trap line of ‘Trapinators’ earlier this year. 
The territory for possum eradication was established by discussions with the Department of Conservation. We have worked with them to plan our trapping progamme:

Phase 1 (Sept 2014): 120 traps along the Butcher/ Cattle Ridge and Orongorongo tracks
Phase 2 (April 2015): 70 traps along McKerrow/Clay Ridge tracks
Phase 3 (Proposed for Nov 2015): 130 A12 Goodnature automatic reset traps McKerrow/Whakanui tracks.

It’s only been a year since we laid the first trap line and to-date we have knocked off nearly 300 possums. We’re hoping to significantly up the kill rate with our next trap line along the McKerrow and Clayridge tracks (Phase 3).

With this in mind, we are now registered as a Charitable Trust and actively seeking donations, sponsorship and grants from individuals, companies and community trusts.  We’ve already made a couple of applications to local trusts.

The elegant evening of Wild Food on Saturday 5 December is our first major fundraiser and you have all done such a great job of selling tickets that we now have a waiting list for any cancellations! The superb auction lots we’ll be offering on the night will be sure to attract plenty of bids and lively competition. We'll be emailing an auction catalogue to all ticket holders prior to the event.

The main auction and silent auction lists are just about finalised.  However, there is still time for contributions of goods or services valued $25 - $150 for the lucky envelopes that we’ll sell on the night - please contact either Judith Corcoran 021 388 243 or Jen Scott 027 441 4315.

Jamie McNaught

Did you know?

The common brushtail possum's ‘proper name’ is Trichosurus Vulpecula: Trichosurus is derived from the Greek trix meaning hair and oura meaning tail: Vulpecula is from the Latin vulpes meaning fox and ecula meaning little. In Maori it’s a paihamu. In the Rimutaka Forest Park it’s just a pest.

In the 1850s, European settlers thought it would be a good idea to bring these hairy-tailed little foxes across the Tasman as a good source of food and fur in New Zealand; fast forward to the 1980s and, without any natural predators, they had thrived to such an extent that the peak possum population reached an estimated 60-70 million.

Around the traps

This will usually be an update on who’s been out in the field and what they found there. But here’s a bit of background. The tracks in the Catchpool and Orongorongo Valleys are among the most popular in New Zealand. There’s a reason for that - they are so accessible and the area is beautiful.

Click to go through to the Department of Conservation website which shows you the various tracks and how to get there

You can download a useful leaflet from the website too:
Deb McNaught and Brenda Boughen headed to the hills last month and cleared the trap lines along Butchers, Cattleridge and the Orongorongo tracks. This was an orientation tramp for Brenda, and she couldn’t have had a better spring day – beautiful sunny weather and no wind.
Deb says the bait had gone from most of the traps along the lines. They cleared two dead possums from Butchers, three from Cattleridge and five from Orongorongo.
FYI - It’s about a 45 minute drive from Wellington CBD to the car park at Catchpool. It took Deb and Brenda about five and a half hours to clear all three trap lines. However, the Orongorongo Track is an easy level walk of about two and a half to three hours.

Be part of the trapping team – contact our Trapping Manager Deb McNaught to find out what’s involved. 
Deb McNaught getting up close and personal with a pesky possum - gloves are a must! As they say, “The only good possum………”.
Copyright © 2015 MOA Conservation Trust, All rights reserved.

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