Otago Peninsula to become possum free thanks to new technology

A long-term eradication programme has left Otago Peninsula pretty much possum free.

A long term eradication programme has left Otago Peninsula pretty much possum free and locals now have help to keep it that way. Source: 1 NEWS

And with some smart technology, organisers are making it easier for locals to help them keep it that way.

Macandrew Bay resident Sophie Fern is all for eradicating possums on the peninsula.

"Basically it's for the birds, we've got the most amazing load of birds round here and just to make more of them and have that dawn chorus be really noisy and really special," Ms Fern said.

A trust was set up four years ago to eradicate the pests.

"They have found a 20% increase in tui, bellbirds and kereru along our monitoring lines over the last three years," Cathy Rufaut from the Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Trust said.

The Trust plans to eradicate all possums from the 10,000 hectare peninsula and when that is done it has to do is maintain the two kilometre spot where it connects to the city.

"We know that the only way possums are walking onto the peninsula is through those suburbs from the city, so we need to work about 850 hectares of city suburbs to clear those suburbs out of possums as well," Ms Rufaut said.

That's where technology comes in - Pukeko Technologies have developed a smartphone app to take the squeamishness out of trapping.

"We designed these little stickers that they stick on the traps and each sticker has a unique code and you can just scan it with your phone, and just say hey I've just got something, I've caught something, please come empty it," Pukeko Technologies' Tegan Garland said.

If the trial's successful the technological traps will go into more backyards, "signalling" the end for possums on the peninsula.