Update: Low predator interaction on tree mounted devices

A brief update sharing more video evidence of low interaction rates on tree-mounted devices. 

You may recall from a previous blog entry that a group in Auckland had one of our cameras in front of a tree-mounted trap (an AT220 trap from NZAutoTraps) and saw most predators choosing not to interact with the device.

Speaking with the good people at NZAutoTraps, it was thought there may have been a problem with the automated feeder on the AT220.  So one of the trap manufacturers checked it out and fixed it.  Below is a sped-up video of what happened in the next two weeks.


The outcome seems to be the same.  The animals are still not driven to interact with the device - most animals just walked past it.  We don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with this trap.  From what we've seen in the tens of thousands of similar videos our cameras have collected, it seems to be very common for predators to walk past tree-mounted traps.  This problem with predators ignoring traps is not unique to the AT220.  Below is a video of possums interacting (or not) with a raised leg-hold trap.


Again most predators seem to walk past it.  We don’t yet have full details of this testing but we do know the raised leg-holds were not active when these recordings were made as this was part of a Lincoln University test on possum home ranges, not a specific raised leg-hold trial. 

We find this sort of information fascinating.  There still seems to be a belief that low interaction rate devices can be used for predator elimination and/or can be deployed as the only active part of an active fence. The behaviour we’re seeing leaves us unable to see how this is possible given the majority of predators choose not to interact with the device.  We’d be very happy if anyone wants to explain it to us!  This is not a rhetorical question - please do point us to any evidence that will help with this - we’ll be happy to publish it here.

As always, we welcome your feedback so don't hesitate to get in touch - leave a comment below or email us at blog@cacophony.org.nz.


Publication Date: 
Monday, 23 August 2021