More predator traps to protect Cape Foulwind’s seabirds

GoodNature A24-Rat-Stoat-TrapAs the penguin breeding season comes to a close, the sooty shearwaters are preparing for their own breeding season and the Trust is installing new traps to help.

For several years, the Trust has been using a solar powered sound system to play calls to encourage sooty shearwaters to nest at Cape Foulwind.  Earlier in the year, the system plays blue penguin calls to attract them and the intention is that this area will become more than a fur seal viewing site, but a seabird viewing site too.  

In addition, the Trust has been trapping predators for the small shearwater colony and has just extended the trapping by installing some of the Good Nature A24 self re-setting traps (thumbnail image), with the support of both DOC and Predator Free New Zealand.  (The traps have a weka exclusion device.) 

Sooties as we like to call them, ‘dig’ burrows for nest sites and are vulnerable to stoats while on their nests.  As a result, they have been almost entirely lost from mainland sites, though large populations exist on off shore and subantarctic islands.  In addition to breeding in New Zealand, they also breed on islands off Australia, Chile and the Falklands.  

The small colony at Cape Foulwind is growing and we hope the additional traps will enable the shearwaters to breed successfully.  If you’re visiting the Cape and the seal colony, you will be able to see them coming in soon after dusk between October to April.  

The trapline extends along the coast closest to Wall Island, the island just off shore at Cape Foulwind, to ensure that it remains predator free for the large fairy prion population as well as sooties that nest there.  

Scott Freeman and Jenny Chandler installing self resetting traps at Cape Foulwind Dec 2017 r

Trustee Scott Freeman and Ranger Jenny Chandler installing self resetting traps at Cape Foulwind

Cape Foulwind - home to NZ fur seals, sooty shearwaters and blue penguins

Cape Foulwind – home to NZ fur seals, sooty shearwaters and blue penguins

Sooty Shearwater, borrowed from nzbirdsonline, photo by Matthias Dehling

Sooty Shearwater, borrowed from nzbirdsonline, photo by Matthias Dehling