Oct 142013

The following is an extract from a presentation by Karen Maw who is a second year student at the Southern Institute of Technology, studying Environmental Management.  She is being assisted by Matt Milner, a first year student studying the same course, who is interested in developing a third year project of his own.

Karen states: “My third year research will involve the study of lizards and predators on Tiwai Peninsula and in the Otatara region.  I will be removing the stomach of predators and looking at what they have been eating.  I will then try to locate live prey animals by looking at how long it takes to digest the prey and the possible distance the pest animal may have travelled before being trapped.  I would then put tracking tunnels near the traps to get footprints of ground dwelling animals on ink coated cards.  If there are footprints of the animals I am looking for I would swap the tracking tunnels with Artificial Cover Objects {ACO}S.  These ACOs are made from a roofing material called Onduline, which has the same ridging as corrugated iron except it’s much lighter in weight and easier to move.  The ACOs would need to be left undisturbed for at least two weeks and then I would check them twice at one week intervals and try to get photographs of any small creatures that are on or under them.

“I am seeking the participation of individual property dwellers in the Otatara area who are involved with trapping predators such as possums, ferrets, weasels, stoats, hedgehogs, and rats.  Any participants would need to place the dead animal in a body bag and write the date and the location of the trap on the bag.  The location of the trap is essential for this theory to be tested.

“Lloyd Esler has kindly offered to act as a collection person and has a freezer available for storage of these animals.  He has suggested that smaller animals can be left in his mailbox while larger ones can be left in the porch area out of direct sunlight.  Any animal provided for this study needs to be in reasonable shape, it can be pretty flat or fly-blown however if it is severely decomposed or has substantial fly larvae then the stomach contents could be compromised [no good]. 

“I would require access to the trap site and the surrounding area in order to try and locate any prey animals.  In my research I will only write the coordinates and give the trap site a number.  There will be no names, addresses or other personal details used.  I will ask permission to write about any conversation with participants and they will be able to read anything relevant before it is included in my research paper.  All consent forms will be stored in a safe and at the end of my research all consent forms will be shredded or passed back to the individual participants.

“If you are interested in providing me with pest animals and allowing me access to your property then you may contact me at e-mail: karenmaw743@yahoo.com, or text: 027 2121415. ”

Consent forms are also available at 49 Bryson Road on usual Pestbusters days, Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings.

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