A muttonbird - Photo: Wiki Commons
A Southland community is rallying to protect one of the last remaining mainland tītī (muttonbird) colonies left in New Zealand.
The colony and other native birdlife is under threat from introduced species, including rats and stoats, on the Bluff peninsula.
This week, Bluff Hill Motupōhue Environment Trust installed 80 Goodnature A-24 Automatic Rat and Stoat traps on Bluff Hill.
Trust chairperson Estelle Leask said protecting and preserving native species was an integral part of the group's work.
"We hope to see a pest-free sanctuary created for our native bird and plants, including our precious tītī colonies.
"This forest is home to many nationally at-risk, vulnerable and threatened native bird species.
"Rats, stoats, weasels, and possums have been eating away at our forests and our birds for too long, and we are excited to be fighting back to bring the birdsong home to Bluff."
Goodnature technical expert Sam Gibson said community and iwi-led projects were the future of conservation.
"We've got such a large area to look after and we need everyone to chip in and do their part to look after their piece of the jigsaw puzzle."
His Wellington-based organisation has developed the special traps, which are the only gas-powered predator trap in the world which automatically resets up to 24 times before needing to be serviced.
"It means that any tramper or community group can look after a much greater amount of land for their time with this methodology," Mr Gibson said.
He hoped the traps would help the community reach the national Predator Free 2050 goals.
The trust received a $20,000 donation from Ka Mate Nga Kiore (Death to the Rat) to fund the traps.