This prototype live capture trap is designed have a high interaction rate and trap a range of predators.
The trap consists of two open sides with spring loaded blinds that snap shut when movement is detected in the trap. At the back of the trap is a one way door leading to a one or two holding cages.
When an animal enters the trap the blinds close and the animal typically makes its way into the holding cage at the back. This video shows the trap in action catching rats, possums, hedgehogs and cats (note this is an earlier version that had 3 open sides).
The trap is a live capture trap and so needs to be checked daily. The trap automatically resets 10 minutes after it triggers. This means, if you have two cages you may be able to catch more than one animal in a night. It also means if the trap is triggered accidentally (say by a small animal such as a mouse) then it will reset and can catch a larger animal.
The trap is available for sale with a lead time of 10 weeks. If you would like to order more than 250 of the traps then the price drops to $1999/trap, however there is a 6 month wait for this volume of traps. If you would like to rent the trap please contact us .
Read the manual for the Cacophony trap here.
High interaction rate important
The Cacophony Project designed this trap because they observed with their thermal cameras that other traps have a very low interaction rate: typically for every 100 predators that is seen near a trap less than one will interact with it.
They created a model for how predator numbers will be impacted by traps with different interaction and kill rates and density. This model closely predicts actual predator numbers.
In this model they found that the interaction rate made a massive difference to the predator numbers: increasing it from 0.4% to 9% would change the impact of traps from suppression to elimination in a matter of weeks.
The highest interaction rate trap the Cacophony Project had found was a live capture trap with an interaction rate of around 5%. They assumed that this was because the trap was easy to get to because it was on the ground rather than up a tree and fairly open.
Inspired by the live capture traps we have made the trap as open as possible and have amplified this by adding hazing to try and draw animals into the trap. We may sell this hazing as a separate product - please contact us if you're interested. Our initial experiments have shown an interaction rate of 20-50%.
Because this is a live capture trap it does need to be checked every day so the caught animals do not suffer and to release anything unintentionally caught. This is labour intensive and not practical in many situations. We are working on solutions to this including an improved self resetting mechanism, an automatic kill mechanism, and the use of machine vision to only capture target species. This will provide us the option of using a caught animal as live bait. Check out this video of a joey being caught and the impact on its mother.
One option we have found effective is to set up one of our thermal cameras pointing at the trap. If the camera has a data connection then you can check the trap remotely. Although, from our experience you are going to be clearing the trap most days to start with.
This trap is a prototype. We found that once The Cacophony Project started sharing their experience with the trap, they started getting people asking for them. So we have started a small production run to share what we have developed with more people. Because the trap is a prototype there will be things that do not work perfectly. As such we ask for your patience and your feedback and experience will help us make the trap better.
The trap is expensive because it is a prototype and we are only doing small runs (it is cheaper if you order more than 250). We expect the price of the trap to drop once we have a stable version. That said, we will add features to the trap, such as an improved auto reset, auto kill and a machine vision trigger. All of these will increase the cost of the trap.
The trap is currently being tested by The Cacophony Project at Living Springs and Akaroa. Manaaki Whenua (Landcare Research) are also testing the trap.
The Cacophony Project
The high interaction rate trap has been developed by The Cacophony Project, a not for profit organisation. A proportion of the proceeds from the sale of these traps will be donated to The Cacophony Project so they can continue to develop technology to help New Zealand become predator free. All the technology developed by The Cacophony Project is open source.