'You've killed a rat' - Pest traps funded by donors connect people with conservation via app

Two young Auckland men say pest traps they've pioneered to protect native birds will connect people with conservation like never before.

This new app delivers 'kill' notification straight to your phone, as part of a project to help save the estimated 68,000 native birds killed each day. Source: Seven Sharp

Engineering school friends Fraser McConnell and Alex Hannan have developed "Squawk Squad", a scheme in which people donate towards a trap which sends notifications to the donor's phone when a pest is killed.

Twenty-four-year-old Mr McConnell explained to Seven Sharp how the system works in a sanctuary Squawk Squad is creating.

He said when a rat gets caught in the trap, a sensor relays that information to a base station which sends information to the user's app "notifying them in real time, you've killed a rat."

The bait inside the trap is tailored to each predator, so when a kill is made donors know what as well as when, and where. 

"You'll get metrics back, such as bird noise levels, rat index levels, exactly how the sanctuary is performing as a whole," Mr McConnell said.

More than 25-million native birds are killed by predators every year, that's 68,000 a day Seven Sharp reported.

Mr McConnell believes engaging donors in real time is the key to turning that around.  

"If you wanted to donate a full trap towards a sanctuary project we've set up, it'd cost you $350 at the moment," he said.

But people can join a Squawk Squad of up to 20 people for $17.50 each.

A kickstarter campaign is underway so the two developers can gamify the app, and purchasing traps in real life will buy you some in the game version too.