(From the notebook of Americorps Intern Mandy Peterson)
These Goodnature rat traps are deployed, grid-style, around the Alakai. They help keep the invasive black rats away from the native forest birds. KFBRP has a total of over 300 traps that we manage and check on a regular basis. Upon getting to a trap, the first things one checks is the counter. The counter is triggered by the jolting of the trap each time it is set off, therefore counting each time a rat is killed. To verify that the counter is counting properly, you look around for a corresponding number of carcasses to verify the counter number. After that, the top is removed, and the bait is checked. The bait comes in pods in three “flavors”: chocolate, peanut butter, and cinnamon. It has been determined that the chocolate bait lasts longest before molding and lures the rats just as effectively as the peanut butter flavor. The cinnamon is not as effective, and KFBRP does not have that flavor deployed anymore. If the bait is not as fresh at the opening (it usually isn’t), the old exposed bait is pushed out to access the fresher bait from further within the pod. If the bait is in horrible condition, a new bait pod is deployed. When the bait pod is off the trap, the trap can be triggered from the top, to ensure it is functioning properly and the counter is indeed marking each time the trap is fired. A stick is used to tap the hair-pin trigger within the trap tunnel. This in turn sets off the piston that is charged from the CO2 container. If the trap does not fire upon testing, the CO2 container may need to be changed. After the CO2 is changed, if it was needed, the trap is tested again to ensure it is then functioning properly. Once all the checking is done, everything is put back together and it’s off to the next one. These Goodnature traps have killed over 800 rats in the last two years, and were funded by: American Bird Conservancy, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Mohammed Bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the many private donors who contributed to our #BirdsNotRats campaign. Mahalo for all the support!
Below you can view a 1 minute video of checking the “Goodnature Traps,” or if you would prefer to view it from Youtube, click here.