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New Plymouth announces top trapping communities - Oakura and Merrilands

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Oākura, Merrilands and Westown are New Plymouth’s top trapping communities, restoring native wildlife and plants, with the most predator catches recorded, in backyards.

New Plymouth urban trappers are uniting to help protect and enhance the district’s unique biodiversity by removing rats, possums and stoats, as part of the long-term, biodiversity project Towards Predator-Free Taranaki.

Since launching on 30 May 2018, Oākura urban trappers are leading the crusade to restore local, native wildlife and plants.

The tight-knit coastal community have 291 traps in backyards and 437 catches recorded, as at Tuesday 26 November 2019 at the online trapping database Trap.NZ. Merrilands and Westown are next with 108 and 91 traps, and 258 and 187 recorded trap catches recorded.

Removing rats is the current focus of predator control in urban New Plymouth district, but possums, stoats and hedgehogs have also been caught by some trappers, Trap.NZ records show. New Plymouth District Council also have 1319 traps in public parks and reserves, with 1552 rat catches recorded in the last 12 months.

"It’s exciting to see the commitment to protect local biodiversity by urban residents - particularly with committed trappers in Oakura, Merrilands and Westown leading the way to care for backyard biodiversity," Towards Predator-Free Taranaki Project Manager Toby Shanley says.

He urged New Plymouth residents to record all trap checks, even if nothing was caught, at the online trapping data base Trap.NZ:

"Logging when you don’t catch anything is equally as important as when you record a catch," Mr Shanley says.

He also encouraged urban residents to join their suburb’s "restore group" on Trap.NZ or Facebook, to track their suburbs progress, receive support and updates about trapping and restoring backyard biodiversity:

"I’d like to see urban trapping become a normal part of our everyday lives. Checking the traps on certain days of the week as if it was like putting out the recycling," Mr Shanley says.

New Plymouth urban residents who’d like help with trapping, have a question, or need help to use the online trapping data base Trap.NZ to record catches, can email: or message Towards Predator Free-Taranaki on its Facebook Page.

Residents interested in volunteering to check traps in public parks and reserves can contact New Plymouth District Council’s Laura George. She is co-ordinating local volunteers and can be reached on 06 759 6060 or email:

Led by Taranaki Regional Council, Towards Predator-Free Taranaki helps communities remove rats, possums and stoats, some of the biggest threats to our native wildlife, plants and livelihoods. The region-wide project is currently focused on New Plymouth district, but will soon expand to other North Taranaki urban and rural areas before heading south.

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