Smith’s Bush predators lured with tasty treat

By Anja Filip
Westlake Kaitiaki

Westlake Kaitiaki has been up to some exciting things within our Adopt A Park project! Last term we set up some animal pest monitoring tools inside Smith’s Bush. Alongside an Auckland Council Park Ranger and local volunteer in the bush, we put out tracking tunnels and chew cards in efforts to identify some of the animal predators living in the bush.

We have been able to use our classroom learnings about introduced animal predators in Aotearoa and put these into action. Along with learning about the role of monitoring tools, we have also gained skills in how to set these up ourselves, identify animal tracks and animal bites, and the ways to maintain and reset tunnels and cards. 

For reference: 









  • Chew cards are the white folded plastic. These are nailed to trees and have peanut butter on the sides to attract pests. The pests approach the chew card and then leave their bite marks for us to identify!
  • Tracking tunnels are small plastic black tunnels with a long white card and ink pad. Bait goes in the middle of the ink pad and attracts pests. The animals walk on an ink pad to reach bait, and walk out, leaving their tracks behind. 
  • The lure which we have used this time, is some trusty (and delicious) Pics peanut butter. 

From our monitoring, we have been able to detect rats, and mice through their bite marks and tracks. When we check the tools again, we may even find the marks of another culprit. Maybe some possums…. 

Carrying out this monitoring has provided us with the first step and an introduction into trapping/pest control. Soon we will start learning about traps and setting them. We also have some exciting activities based around plant ID, plant biodiversity, planting and freshwater coming up soon!

To keep updated with our progress, conservation work and to learn something new, have a look at our Instagram page: @westlakekaitiaki