By GUY WILLIAMS
A volunteer predator trapper who’s discovered six traps missing between Lake Dispute and Moke Lake says the thefts are bizarre and demoralising.
Bob’s Cove resident Pippa Speedy noticed the DoC200 traps had gone last week while checking a trapline of more than 40 between the Glenorchy-Queenstown road and Moke Lake.
Worth $110 each, they were made by Workforce Alliance workers last year and given to community trapping umbrella group the Whakatipu Wildlife Trust.
‘‘It’s really disheartening when you find six traps missing,’’ Speedy says.
‘‘Who’s going to replace those?
‘‘Our group doesn’t have $660.’’
It’s not the first time either — she’s had others stolen from a trapline between Bob’s Cove and Twelve Mile Delta in the past year.
Speedy, who’s been catching predators since 2014 and was a prime mover in setting up the trust, wonders if the culprit stole them to sell on, to deal with a pest problem on their own property, or is an animal lover who ‘‘doesn’t understand the story’’.
She says the traps target only rats, ferrets, stoats and possums, and are aimed at protecting the Whakatipu Basin’s native wildlife — especially birds but also bats, lizards, weta and other insects.
Her family maintains more than 170 in traplines extending from Bob’s Cove to Twelve Mile Delta, Wilson Bay and Closeburn.
They check and re-bait or re-gas them, repairing them when necessary.
As well as their traps going missing, volunteers often find them being interfered with, such as rocks being put in front of them, or being set off with sticks, she says.
‘‘People have got to understand we’re all doing this as volunteers — it’s in our own time.’’