An extensive network of nearly 500 possum traps extends
right across the 1000 hectares of the northern forest block in East Harbour
Regional Park (EHRP) using two types of kill trap – Possum Master and Timms
traps. These are baited with long lasting cereal bait and an attractant made up
of flour, icing sugar and spices is spread around the traps. Traps are checked
by volunteers fortnightly in most cases and monthly where catches are falling
to very low levels.
Regular possum trapping has significantly reduced levels of
possums in the forest. Prior to the start of regular trapping the RTC (Rate of
Trap Catch or number of possums caught per 100 trap nights) was 27 percent. In
2013 this figure has fallen to only 2 percent. Moreover, the RTC has now been
held below 5 percent consistently for the last 9 years (since 2004) when
regular park-wide trapping across the 1000 hectares of the Park commenced.
Annual Possum RTC:
Actual possum numbers caught by MIRO have continued to fall,
the latest annual figure for the year to the end of May 2013 was only 206, well
down on the large numbers caught in the early years.
Maintaining the trapping on a regular basis and servicing the
huge number of traps required involves a huge physical effort, and the results
of the latest monitor are a testament to the dedication of the MIRO Trappers.
It is gratifying to consider how the flora and fauna of the forest will be
flourishing with the suppression of these predators.