Swamp Comp Info
Swamp Comp Info
What is the Swamp Comp?
It’s the event where hunter/conservationists trap ferrets, stoats and weasels, freeze the tails then bring them in for counting in November each year. Each tail equals a chance in the prize draws. The competition will again run in 2016 so keep trapping and collecting those tails.
Why Trap Predators?
Fish & Game Mallard Research Project Update:
Fish & Game have invested in a major research project evaluating nesting and brood rearing success in two diverse locations, Waikato and Southland. After two years of intensive field work including implanting GPS tracking devices and monitoring 301 females, the data has been collected and now the analysis starts. The following update is provided by Auckland University PhD student Jenn Sheppard, who is assisting the project...
- Preliminary results in regards to survival rates in 2015 are similar to 2014. It does appear that more females in the Waikato were able to raise a brood (at least one duckling) than last year. Survival of ducklings in the Waikato is around 5% higher than last year, whereas it is nearly doubled in the Southland study site. Nest survival is approximately 60% and female survival is around 80% in both sites.
- Predators are responsible for most nest destruction. In the Waikato, 6 females were killed on their nests and 35 out of 110 nests were eaten by predators. We are unsure which predators are truly responsible, but have seen evidence to suggest cats, stoats, ferrets and hawks target nesting birds and eggs.
- Although duckling survival is quite low (~20% in the Waikato), we have no way of knowing what is responsible for this mortality. While we suspect predators have a large influence, we are unable to say with certainty which animals are having impact. We have noted pukeko and hawk attacks on ducklings during the day, but have no idea what happens at night or during the remainder of the time when we are not monitoring the broods. We suspect mammals (eg. cats, stoats, ferrets, rats) may have a profound impact but are unable to test this assumption.
- We caution against targeting specific predators as it may unintentionally result in increased populations of other predators - thus if people want to trap, they should attempt to trap the whole suit of predators.
- Once we have thoroughly analysed the data we will be able to provide more solid recommendations in regards to important nesting habitats and what type of predators (nest or duckling) we should be focusing our efforts on.