Part of the local residents group Whakamarama Community Inc, Friends of the Blade/Pa Kereru are a community conservation group tasked with running a pest control program that will be covering 300 hectares of Kaimai Forest Park. The work is carried out by a growing group of dedicated volunteers who give their time to check rat, possum, and stoat traps. Since receiving funding in 2017 to expand from their original area of around 90 hectares, there is plenty of work to do!
The name Friends of the Blade comes from a bulldozer blade which once stood in the clearing at the end of Whakamarama Road. The blade has since been stolen, but the name has stuck, and a new blade has recently been added at the carpark.
Animal pest control is the main focus of the group, with the aim of creating a pest-free environment in which the native wildlife can flourish.
Trapping started in May 2016 and there were a total of 856 possums killed by the end of November 2018, and the rat tally has risen to 1386, mice to 106, and stoats to 13. On its own this is proof of the project’s success, but it also comes from our tracks monitoring which recently had zero rodent footprints in 50 overnight tracker inked pads on ten different lines.
Friends of the Blade now have twenty-one lines of traps, and the toxin bait stations have been replaced by boxed rat traps to eliminate the use of toxins to control the rats. This means we have been toxin free since November 2017.
How to Help
Friends of the Blade are very keen to welcome new members to the group of volunteers. Some volunteers are having to cover more than trap line, and the ideal would be to have two to a line. They currently work as a group on Friday afternoons, which will not suit everyone, so they are able to teach you and orientate you to your lines, and then those who work a regular week will be able to join those who do their lines on the weekends.
With the current expansion they desperately need new volunteers. They have a further four trapping lines marked by their GPS man that need clearing to enable easy access, setting up with traps, and a permanent volunteer or two to check them regularly.
Find Out More
Anyone interested in joining Friends of the Blade can see the links below for more information.