Author:Hamish Allen , Craig Bishop
Source:Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Auckland Council undertakes a range of pest monitoring designed to detect any changes in invasive mammal population or species composition and provides an early indication of any new species present. This allows a better understanding of the response in the targeted area and the effectiveness of the control techniques that are being used.
Tracking tunnels and chew cards are two different methods that are commonly used to monitor pests in urban forest environments. Black, corflute tracking tunnels have been specifically designed for monitoring small mammals in New Zealand and over one night a peanut butter-baited ink pad is placed inside. As mammals or insects walk through the tunnel to investigate, they leave behind prints which can then be used to identify species as well as provide an indication of abundance. An alternative approach uses chew cards. Peanut butter-filled cards are fixed to trees and left for between one to seven days, attracting mammals that leave behind distinctive tooth or bite marks as they gnaw at the corrugated plastic cards.
Currently, there is no information advising which of these methods is more suited to monitoring in urban reserves.Differences might be observed depending on the time of year monitoring is done, the number of nights the chew cards are left out (which can affect their chance of detecting different types of pest), and whether chew card damage is correlated with the density of mammalian pests.
Post prepared for the RIMU symposium 2019. Data matters: the role of research and evaluation in shaping the future of Tāmaki Makaurau.
AUT, 25 June 2019