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Traplordz scheme brings pest control plan to youth

Three young Seatoun residents have set up an incentive-based conservation scheme – Traplordz – designed to revitalise conservation culture amongst their peers.

GREGOR THOMPSON

Jack Tully (centre) receives his new trap from Traplordz Claude Ramsden Bradley (left) and Tait Burge

Tait Burge, Hugo Reeve and Claude Ramsden Bradley of Seatoun have set up a self-funded project to address a mutual concern: the depleting populations of native birds.

An estimated 25 million native birds are killed by pests, rodents and domestic pets annually, an astonishing statistic if you consider the already limited populations.

Traplordz – a name marketed to the university students and younger generations – is an initiative the trio have set up to revitalise the culture surrounding conservation in the Wellington Region.

Traplordz offer free “Trappacks” for people to record their trapping results. These are then used to develop statistics and aid other conservationists. Prizes are awarded every week for consistent information and regular contribution to the cause. This gives participants a competitive incentive and rewards them for their efforts.

“I guess the idea came about when we realised that we knew there was a problem, but none of our mates or anyone we knew of our age was doing anything about it,” says Hugo.

The idea is a much needed new angle that entices younger generations to help Wellington reach its Predator Free goal.

Each Trappack comes with a personalized painted trapbox by a Wellington artist, a modified Victor rodent trap, peanut butter for luring the animals, information pamphlets and some stickers – everything Traplordz need to get started.

Most of the equipment and lots of time is donated generously by Tait, Hugo and Claude, apart from the peanut butter – provided by Pic’s, the team’s first sponsor – and the traps.

These are supplied by Predator Free Wellington, who are working alongside the group and delighted with the boys’ commitment so far.

“We are really pleased to be able to support Traplordz in their work. This really is about Wellingtonians stepping up to define the type of city they want to live in. Engaging new and diverse audiences in the collective vision is absolutely fantastic,” says James Willcocks, Project Director of Predator Free Wellington.

“We are absolutely stoked with Predator Free Wellington’s help and the fact that Pic’s has sponsored us,” says Tait. “We are always looking for more sponsors and people who can help us do our bit.”

The Traplordz have been hard at work going door to door, delivering their Trappacks and signing Wellingtonians up, as well as spreading the word and educating people about predators and the falling native bird populations.

Over 30 traps have been delivered within the first month of the project, with Victoria University PHD students offering to assess the information they gather and provide statistical analysis that may help the process.

“It’s been pretty hectic these last few weeks getting everything sorted out. It’s all falling into place well and we are just stoked we can help to solve an issue that’s been on our minds for the last few years,” says Claude.

The Traplordz all currently work full-time in other jobs and earn no financial benefit from the service they are providing the community.

“I think we all see ourselves continuing to play a hand in a Predator Free New Zealand as well as other conservation projects down the line and really hope that other young people will get on board and do their part as well,” says Claude.

“I would like to move towards permanent work in conservation as time goes on but we’d need funding, so right now it’s all about building the right foundations and proving we can make a difference” says Hugo.

Contact the Traplordz team on their Facebook page.