Home' Advocate Communications : Fiordland Advocate 14 January 2010 Contents LOCAL NEWS
14 January, 2010 | Page 3
A volunteer-run stoat trapping operation on
the South Coast Track has been attacked by
vandals who have removed or destroyed a
third of the traps.
Co-ordinator Joyce Kolk said the first sign
something was amiss was last month
when interpretation panels about the stoat
trapping project were vandalised. Some
were defaced with graffiti, apparently in
protest at the Department of Conservation’s
proposed 1080 poison drops in the area,
while at least one was removed altogether.
Next was anti-1080 slogans being painted
on the traps and then the discovery that
18 of the 42 traps had vanished. Not only
had the traps been taken, but whoever was
responsible had also removed all trace that
they were ever there – plastic markers and
ribbons indicating the site of the traps had
all been methodically removed.
“I just wanted to cry,” Joyce said.
“Somebody’s just destroyed a third of it in
one sitting and why? “To actually remove
every single trace that they were actually
there – that’s a demented mind.”
If 1080 protestors were responsible, they
had not thought their actions through very
well because the trapping programme did
not use 1080 poison, she said.
“I can’t understand it. Why put anti-1080
posters all over an interpretation panel for
trapping? Numb nuts, that’s what I called
them in my newsletter.”
The stoat trapping project was instigated
and is managed by Wairaurahiri Jet,
the company owned by Joyce and her
husband Johan Groters. Each of the traps
is sponsored. The couple have made a
conscious effort to distance themselves
from the 1080 debate and have neither
supported nor condemned the proposal,
instead choosing to continue focus their
energies on the trapping programme they
Despite that, they have received threats of
sabotage of their trapping operation and
heard rumours that some protestors have
considered the deliberate reintroduction
of pests onto Coal Island, another
conservation project close to their hearts.
Last year, when they suspected their South
Coast traps were being deliberately sprung
and-or removed, they set up a motion-
sensor camera in the bush. In August it
captured a man removing a trap but he
could not be clearly indentified. Joyce and
Johan have not ruled out using hidden
cameras again to try and bring the culprits
Since word of the trapping programme
vandalism got out Joyce and Johan have
been inundated with offers of assistance.
However, they said it would cost in
the region of $6000 to replace all of
the traps and have them flown in by
helicopter. Whoever took the traps
knew they were in the most remote
area and therefore the most expensive
and difficult to replace, she said.
A group of volunteers planned to go
into the area soon to do an extensive
search for any discarded traps. A
couple had been spotted thrown
down gullies and efforts would be
made to retrieve as many as possible.
To avoid the programme being
compromised again, it was likely the
replacement traps would have to be
laid off the main track and out of
The problem with that was that
volunteers would not be able to check
and reset them, Joyce said.
Southern stoat trap sabotage
Caught in the act: A hidden motion-sensitive camera caught this man removing a stoat trap from
the South Coast Track in August last year. Unfortunately it was not clear enough to identify him.
Continued from Pg 1)
Originally from the Bay of Islands, which
relies heavily on dolphins and whales for
tourism, Mr May said it was amazing to see
people’s faces when they saw a whale for
the first time. His time in Milford had been
equally rewarding as the number of whales
being spotted along the Fiordland coast had
“This is amazing especially when they come
into the fiords all the crew on the boat
stop what they are doing and just admire
the beautiful mammals that out size our
vessels in Milford.
“I think that’s made me more passionate to
keep them alive. Our oceans, they’re being
raped at the moment and it’s got to stop.
We can’t keep taking and taking, we’ve
got to have some sort of break. There are
laws that limit how much we can take and
what we can do but there’s no government
prepared to back up these laws that they’ve
made, that’s why Sea Shepherd exists – we
step in where the governments won’t.”
Mr May is due to leave Milford soon for a
new job at Franz Joseph but will continue to
be a frequent visitor to the area promoting
Sea Shepherd and its work.
Te Anau ratepayers might have to accept
a new rubbish collection day or pay up to
$200 to each to maintain the status quo.
That’s a scenario being floated by the
Southland District Council which is in the
process of renegotiating its refuse contract.
At present Te Anau wheelie bins are
collected on Mondays but significant
savings could be made if this was moved
to a Thursday or Friday. No changes are
proposed for other towns.
Asset manager Ian Evans said this was
because the contractor used the same
collection truck for various other urban
collections and there was a bottleneck on
Mondays. Moving the collection day would
remove the need for an additional truck.
Rubbish collection has been a perennial
source of contention in Te Anau and only
a few years ago property owners fought
rigorously to keep the Monday collection.
The town has a high number of holiday
home owners and the Monday collection
seems to suit those who spend weekends in
When asked whether the cost of collection
would be lower because there might
potentially be few bins needing emptying
later in the week, Mr Evans admitted that
might form part of the equation.
“I think that’s a consideration but I don’t
think that’s the main reason why... it’s just
to keep the infrastructure that’s needed
down to a minimum so that the costs are
obviously kept low,” he said.
A flyer is being delivered to property owners
giving them the chance to have a say on
their preferred option.
However, if locals choose to retain
Monday collection it is likely they will be
asked to make up the difference in
cost, possibly around $200 per
household per year.
“There’ll be two options, either change the
collection day to either a Thursday or Friday
or to keep the collection day on a Monday
and pay the difference” Mr Evans said.
“Whether or not there’s other options that
we could explore on the basis of feedback
that we receive, I’m not sure yet. There is
a section for comment on the flyer that’s
Anyone who does not receive a flyer can
pick one up from their local Southland
District Council area office.
People are asked to tick their preference
and return the form by Friday, January 22.
What do you wheelie think about bin collection?
The stoat traps just before they were laid at
regular intervals along the South Coast Track. A
third of them have disappeared without trace.
Graffiti protesting against the Department of
Conservation’s proposed use of 1080 poison
has been painted on the stoat traps.
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