Over the years Atuanui has suffered damage from pests, including possums, stoats, goats and deer.  Possum control is now done every four - five years for the Department of Conservation (DoC).  The Auckland Regional Council (ARC) Biosecurity also control possums in a 1700ha buffer zone of farmland around the reserve.  Rodents are not yet controlled at Atuanui.  

Current DoC policy is to control goats and deer in areas of highest conservation priority. At Atuanui licenses for recreational hunting are issued for fortnightly periods.  Despite this, large numbers of goats are seen in the reserve. DoC contract hunters are now also visiting Atuanui more regularly to help control deer and goats and this seems to be much more effective.

Monitoring Programme

Monitoring supported by the ARC began in March 2006 using tracking tunnels, and bird monitoring is now done annually by the Atuanui Restoration Project







Tracking tunnel and inked card removed from tunnel showing possum tracks


Possum control

The results of the September 2006 monitoring programme raised serious concerns about the number of possums in the Reserve.  It was decided that control measures needed to be enhanced and so far ten Timms traps have been installed at points along the monitoring lines.  The traps are cleared weekly.  Initial results have been successful, but the high success rate is indicative of a significant problem. 

Atuanui pest monitoring and control

Copyright © 2006-10 Kaipara Branch, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand Inc. All rights reserved