eDNA monitoring and Spitfire trials

Listed: 23rd March 2023

Southern Lakes Sanctuary is utilising new technologies in monitoring taonga species and predator eradication. We’re thrilled to be working with Wilderlab NZ Ltd on our Lizard eDNA monitoring, and Envico Technologies on the Spitfire possum control trials.

Read the article online at: https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/new-tech-protects-wildlife   

In preparation for a collaboration with Envico, a few weeks ago we set out four lines of wax tags in a suitable location. When they were collected just 3 nights later, there was a lot of evidence of possum presence based on the chew marks. 

Fast forward to last week – a bunch of awesome groups got together to deploy 30 devices.

Introducing the Possum Spitfire… a clever device which has been in the planning pipelines for 10 years now and aims to specifically target possums. These self-resettable and automated devices will be used in biosecurity and projects where both eradication of animal pests or protection against re-invasions are the aim.

How does it work? The possum climbs up, stands on the plate where it is then weighed and reaches up to get to the lure located in the hood at the top. If they weigh 1.4kg or more, the mechanism sprays their stomach with a dose of toxin. The possum finishes its snack and waddles off unassuming, only ingesting the toxin when it grooms itself later. 

Each device contains 100 meticulously measured doses and will be checked by our crew every 10 days. The devices will be out for four months and then follow-up wax tag lines will be set out to compare the results.

The team from Envico who developed the device and the Boffa Miskell crew who are project partners, commented on how exciting it was to have reached this point. We were more than happy to help out alongside team members from Predator Free 2050 Limited and Trap and Trigger

Thanks to Department of Conservation who are also a project partner. Let’s hope we can knock down those possum numbers! 

If you want to find out more information about the toxin used then please visit: https://www.envicotech.co.nz/spitfire-devices

Posted in: In the Media, News