The multi-agency Te Manahuna Aoraki project, launched with the ambition of turning the basin area in South Canterbury into a predator-free zone by 2040, has trapped 2656 hedgehogs, 441 rats, 1839 stoats, ferrets and weasels and 477 feral cats since December 2018.
Project manager Simone Cleland said although hedgehogs were easy to trap in that they were willing to walk into traps, they also had a small home range which meant they needed to put out a lot of traps to catch them.
“They make a really big impact on our lizard species and braided river birds,” Cleland said.
“We’re in the process of applying more than 200 traps in the Mistake Valley, with the hope of eliminating hedgehogs entirely within that area.”
Cleland said the increase in trapped pests meant that the basin’s native species had “5400 more opportunities to survive and thrive”.
“We were always ambitious with this project, but it’s become more of a reality.’’