Since the beginning of spring, Pongaroa has been boasted with the arrival of a pair of Kaka birds. This has provided the Station with an ideal opportunity to think about extending it’s pest control programme.
Last week a rat monitoring exercise was carried out on the farm to measure the impact of future work. This technique is referred to as tunnel tracking. Ten plastic tunnels were laid out in the bush, 50 metres apart. Inside the tunnels, a cardboard card is installed with some ink on it. When the rat travels through the tunnel it walks on the ink and leaves footprints on the cardboard. This technique will provide precious insight into the level of rat presence in the area.
On Pongaroa Station, rat presence is estimated to be around 12.5%-which is considered reasonably low. This could be the result of 15 years of possum control work on the farm which we know affects rat populations as well. We hope this benchmark will give us some insight into addressing the issue of rat populations over the next few years as we extend our pest control efforts.