Cacophony Blog

2 Dec 2021 - 15:30
We've been thinking again.  There is an interesting analogy to be drawn between how we catch fish and how we catch predators.
5 Nov 2021 - 16:32
The team have been busy again - new software features, new products from our partners at, and an update on manufacturing.  Check out the latest newsletter here: 


8 Sep 2021 - 15:50
Some great research on hedgehogs in the McKenzie Basin by Nick Foster.
23 Aug 2021 - 15:57
A brief update sharing more video evidence of low interaction rates on tree-mounted devices. 
10 Aug 2021 - 12:24

New software updates to our online portal and our Sidekick app.

26 Jul 2021 - 12:57

Our high catch rate trap has now been out in the wild in a few areas so it's time to give you a brief update. We've identified some key next steps in the trap's development. 

21 Jun 2021 - 10:45

One of our customers has had our thermal camera in front of a tree based possum and rat trap for three weeks in the hope of seeing how well it performed. In this case the trap was the AT220 from NZ auto traps. 

2 Jun 2021 - 18:18

The Cacophony Project exists to put better tools in the hands of everyone engaged in the battle to make Aotearoa Predator Free.  So when we hear DOC's Program Manager for Predator Free 2050 excited about our tools having the possibility to "really change the game", it helps confirm our belief that we're on the right journey.

27 May 2021 - 15:03

For a period a 3 months last year we had the pleasure of having Sapphire Hampshire join the project as an intern.  Saphy was a Master's student in International Nature Conservation at Lincoln University, from Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen.


27 May 2021 - 14:40

Our delivery partner at has just announced a number of improvements that are now going live.

3 May 2021 - 10:34
Proud moment for us here at the project as we see our camera spotting the invader at Shakespear National Park
29 Mar 2021 - 13:08
Our high interaction rate traps are out in the field catching predators at multiple sites. Today we share some early results and a short update on some of the improvements we're making as we learn more.  One of our traps at a test site in Akaroa caught 8 possums in 12 nights (update - and 8 more in the following 6 weeks) - read on for details.

24 Feb 2021 - 15:48

Once an area has been cleared of predators, how can we defend it?  The traditional answer has been static fences.  Today we introduce a new concept - making those fences active.

11 Jan 2021 - 12:38

A group from Auckland University has been training AI models using our thermal video library.


8 Dec 2020 - 17:01

In the area of monitoring, we suspect that Cacophony’s thermal cameras have the potential to deliver three keys benefits:

  1. A substantial reduction in the effort required to monitor a reserve
  2. A substantial increase in the amount of data produced from monitoring efforts
  3. A substantial increase in the quality of data produced from monitoring efforts
But those are just assumptions, and they need challenging.  So a field experiment was born.  And today we share some of the results.
28 Nov 2020 - 11:00
The Cacophony Project is pleased to confirm our agreement with Predator Free 2050 to fund the development of our Blind-Snap Model A Trap. 
15 Nov 2020 - 16:46

Earlier in the year we were asked if we could expand the machine vision used with our thermal camera to automatically detect wallabies with the goal of monitoring and controlling the wallaby population. 

16 Sep 2020 - 13:01

If you're a regular reader of our blog, it might be easy to get the impression that we are randomly trying lots of things.  The reality of life on the project is somewhat different - there is a targeted structure to what we are doing. This post gives a summary of that strategy.  To bring back the Cacophony of native fauna in NZ there are a number of separate parts of the puzzle that we are trying to solve. What follows is a summary of each sub-goal as we see it along with an indication of where we are up to with our progress.

8 Sep 2020 - 13:19

Our previous blogs have highlighted how most predators in well trapped areas just walk past existing traps. This blog shows our first attempt at a device designed to trap hard to trap predators or re-invading predators. At the moment the competition for this sort of application is pretty much manual hunting or very intense trapping and baiting (which often never gets to zero).

1 Sep 2020 - 18:18

In recent blog posts we have gone into detail on different trapping strategies.  We chose to do this because we are convinced that many approaches that may seem intuitively to be great strategies won’t actually make much of a difference to the elimination of predators. Our camera experiments have shown consistently and across a number of different environments that, for an area that has been trapped for a while, there is a persistent population that avoids existing traps.  Today we introduce a collection of approaches and ideas that we believe can actually improve the predator interaction rate and give us a real chance of achieving our predator-free goals.

18 Aug 2020 - 12:58

Today we tackle the question of the kill rate of existing traps.  The arsenal of traps available to trappers includes some well-designed, field-tested, and hardy workhorses.  And yet we know that even the most skillful deployment of these in the field only delivers a level of suppression, not the total elimination we strive for.  Today we discuss why that might be.

17 Aug 2020 - 17:18

The previous blog posts showed how a simple model can help understand typical predator elimination methods. It makes intuitive sense that long life lure or automatic dispensing lures will help with trapping.  In this blog we discuss the impact of automatic lures and long life lures for their potential to achieve total predator elimination.

4 Aug 2020 - 10:58

Today we return to our core subject of eliminating predators.  If you're keen to follow our work on the fever screening device (which is now on the market), we have now launched a new website with its own blog:  All future updates on the device will appear there.

So, back to dealing with predators.  In some previous blog posts, we showed how a simple model can help understand typical trapping and poisoning methods.  Part of the goal of this model was to help understand what strategies might make the biggest difference and thus improve the chance of total predator elimination. In this blog we discuss the predictions our model makes on the impact of auto-resetting traps.


3 Aug 2020 - 16:14

As you may have noted from our recent blog entries life is getting busy for us here at The Cacophony Project.  And you know we love building solutions right?  So, we've been building really quite a lot of software recently and we need some help making sure it makes it out of the door in the highest quality possible.

22 Apr 2020 - 17:13

Regular readers of this blog will have noted our recent pivot in focus.  Our team are busy working on our thermal screening device and the devices are already out at Beta testing sites helping employers keep their staff safe.  We're pleased to share how the media have been taking notice of our efforts.  And a look ahead to how we see our solution fitting in with some of the innovations that are being designed to help keep New Zealand safe from further outbreaks.

11 Apr 2020 - 13:23

The Cacophony Project is all about the eradication of invasive predators from New Zealand.  However, there's a wee thing called COVID-19 that has brought about a few problems in human society (you may have seen the odd thing about it in the news recently).  At Cacophony, we love being useful so when the call came requesting that we turn our attention to how our cameras might be used, we listened and responded with our favourite type of action - we started building things.  Today, we talk to our founder about how that happened and what we're doing to try to help New Zealand get through this and return to something like normal.

24 Mar 2020 - 16:02

In this entry we are very pleased to welcome back Tim Hunt from the Centre for Information Technology at Wintec.  He has an update for us on his work in automatically detecting Morepork (Ruru) from audio recordings made by our bird monitors.

16 Mar 2020 - 22:47

The Eastern Bays Songbird project has been going for 2 years and the members were keen to see how they were getting on with their goal of predator eradication. They have been using a 2040 Thermal Camera developed by The Cacophony Project to see what is going on around their traps. Their overall impression before deploying the camera was that they were getting the predator numbers down.  They hoped the Thermal Camera would be a great way to get a full picture of the predators in the area. This camera was developed because standard trail cameras are designed for pig and deer and miss lots of the small moving mammals we are interested in here.  In this entry, we share their findings.

13 Mar 2020 - 14:35

Our previous blog post showed a simple model to allow you to work out trap interaction rates. The goal of this post is to show that this same simple model can also be used to explain the effectiveness of aerial poison drops. We are not making any comments about the value of poison drops as a tool but just showing how a simple model works for different elimination methods. We like the fact that a fairly simple tool can help explain the relative merits of different elimination methods. The real value starts to appear when we tweak some of the other parameters in the model - we think it gives us a clear idea about useful ways to improve predator elimination.