Biological Invasions

, Volume 18, Issue 6, pp 1723–1736 | Cite as

Controlling sympatric pest mammal populations in New Zealand with self-resetting, toxicant-free traps: a promising tool for invasive species management

  • Anna Carter
  • Stu Barr
  • Craig Bond
  • Grace Paske
  • Darren Peters
  • Robert van Dam
Original Paper


The control of invasive mammals is a key challenge for conservation biologists and management practitioners, particularly in locations with a high risk of re-invasion. Here, we tested whether sympatric populations of invasive mammal species could be suppressed simultaneously using self-resetting traps and toxicant-free baits. We used binomial GLM models to examine whether an intermittent pattern of trap checks could be used to predict kill rates under conditions of heavy scavenging. We also estimated the financial costs associated with deployment and maintenance of the multi-kill traps over 10 years, compared with those of aerial and ground-based poisoning methods. Trapping reduced the activity of all target species at the study site to ≤10 % within 9 months. Our results show that self-resetting traps are a promising tool for controlling multiple species of pest mammals on an island with a high potential for re-invasion.


Australian brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpeculaIsland biosecurity Norway rat (Rattus norvegicusShip rat (Rattus rattus



We would like to thank field volunteers from the East Taranaki Environment Trust; Nick Beckers, Mark Caskey, Joanna Greig, Bob Schumacher and Karen Schumacher; and Dean Caskey from Taranaki Regional Council. We thank Gerard Hill from Edge Effect, Te Anau for undertaking the cost estimation. We are grateful for the assistance of numerous staff from the New Zealand Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai, especially Klaartje van Schie and two landowners for permission to install traps in the privately owned areas of Native Island. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for comments on an earlier manuscript. Support for this study was provided by the Future of Predator Control Unit of the Department of Conservation.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Financial support for this project was provided by the Future of Predator Control Unit of the NZ Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai. The funding body did not influence the study design, collection/analysis of data or writing/submission of this manuscript. Financial benefit may be incurred from publication of this manuscript for authors Stu Barr, Craig Bond and Robert van Dam, as founders and directors of Goodnature Ltd., and author Grace Paske, as a permanent employee of Goodnature Ltd.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Biological SciencesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Goodnature LimitedWellingtonNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Conservation Te Papa AtawhaiWellingtonNew Zealand

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