Buffer Zone

Photo by Jacqui Geux

The community around Ark in the Park creates a buffer zone – a barrier for pests and a haven for wildlife. 

As an open sanctuary, we don’t have a predator proof fence. What we do have is over 200 awesome neighbours trapping and baiting at home. Their efforts help to protect the Ark, as well as the native birds, bats, lizards, and invertebrates that overflow from the sanctuary into their backyards.

Together, we can create an environment where our native species thrive.

Do you live nearby? We need your help!

The biggest threat to our native species are the mammalian predators that people introduced to Aotearoa New Zealand – rats, possums, mustelids, and cats. You can help keep pest numbers low through baiting and/or trapping, and with pest monitoring to see how well our control methods are working. We also love to hear from you when you see our native wildlife. You can learn more by joining our mailing list here

Tell us when you see native wildlife

We love hearing about our taonga species – not only are they the highlight of our mahi, knowing where they are can also help us plan our efforts to better protect them.
Click the images to report a sighting of that animal, or let us know at arkbufferzone@gmail.com. Find out more on our Volunteer Resources page.
Close up of North Island kōkako
Image: kōkako. Tara Swan.
Image: North Island robin / toutouwai.


We use pre-bagged PESTOFF Brodifacoum Possum Bait – simply place the bag into a Philproof station with the knot underneath, using the floor of the station to wedge the bag in place.

Keep poison away from children and non-target animals. Remember to wear gloves, and to wash your hands and clothes after handling bait.


Read the Safety Data Sheet here, or on the suppliers’ website www.pestoff.co.nz. For more information, download our Buffer Zone Baiting Guide. 

Image: Philproof bait station. Sarah Mansell.

For help with baiting, including requests for free bait stations and PESTOFF bait, please contact the Buffer Zone Coordinator at arkbufferzone@gmail.com.


We recommend using traps that have met animal welfare criteria for their target species. You can see which traps we use for which animals below, as well as how to set up and maintain these. Please note that the rat and stoat traps are best used in a tunnel, ensuring the animal approaches the trap correctly.

Contact arkbufferzone@gmail.com for free help with your trapping, including requests for traps (which can be loaned or bought).


Image: rat predating a fantail/pīwakawaka nest. Ngā Manu Images.

Modified Victor traps are a humane and cost-effective option for rats. Goodnature A24 traps are another humane option, but Ark in the Park is unable to supply these due to their cost.

Check out this video guide to using a DOC200, a modified Victor, and a Goodnature A24 trap, made by Urban Ark Manawa Taio.

Stoats, ferrets and weasels

Image: stoat. Ngā Manu Images.

DOC200 traps are the recommended option for stoats. These will also catch rats and hedgehogs, though they are more expensive than the Modified Victors. Ferrets are larger and should be targeted with DOC250 traps instead.

Here’s a video on how to set up and service a DOC200 trap. Check out Ark volunteer Ken Harrop testing the weight of a DOC200. See this written DOC200 guide, courtesy of the Department of Conservation.


Image: possum eating a kererū egg. Ngā Manu Images.

Flipping Timmys are the recommended solution for possums. These are a modified version of the Timms Trap.

Check out this video from Connovation about how to use a Flipping Timmy.

Minimise harm done by pets

If you live near the Ark please keep our wildlife and your pets safer by reducing the chances for your pet to roam. Even keeping your cat indoors at night can make a significant difference.

Check out this guide to keeping cats happy and healthy at home.

As well as controlling rats, stoats, and possums, we use traps within the Ark to ensure unowned cats aren’t contributing to the loss of our native species. Read more about this here

Image: domestic cat. Inge Wallumrod.


Alongside predator control, we need to know where the predators are and how well our control methods are working. You can help us complete pest monitoring in the Buffer Zone.
We use Black Trakka tunnels. A pre-inked card records the footprints of animals as they pass through the tunnels.

We recommend that tunnels be placed under bush cover and away from human activity if possible, at least 50 metres apart. When ready, the cards can be unfolded and placed in the tunnels. A small amount of peanut butter should be dabbed around the tunnel. 

The next day, the cards should be retrieved and the footprints identified. All cards should go out for one night only, when there is no rain, and all on the same night – the Buffer Zone Coordinator will help to organise this before any monitoring events. 

Check out the Gotcha Traps guides to using the tunnels and how to identify footprints on their website.

Image: a Black Trakka tunnel. Gotcha Traps.

Frequently asked questions

How do I get involved in the Buffer Zone?


If you’re living within the Buffer Zone area and want to get involved, please get in touch with our Buffer Zone coordinator using the contact form below, and join our mailing list here.

Am I within the Buffer Zone area?

If you live anywhere in the Bethells Valley, along Scenic Drive between Te Henga & Piha Roads, or on Anawhata Road, we may be able to provide free advice and free or discounted equipment to do predator control on your property.

If you’re close to those areas but not quite in, get in touch and we’ll let you know if we’re able to help.

What if I am outside the Buffer Zone but want to get involved?
If you live outside the Buffer Zone area and are keen to get involved, please feel free to get in touch anyway. We may be able to point you towards funding opportunities or help you get discounts on equipment.

Auckland Council also runs Pest Free Auckland 2050, which has many opportunities for support and help with controlling predators on your property.

Does it cost to join the Buffer Zone?
Advice and pest control tools are free for anyone within the Buffer Zone area. This is possible thanks to support from Ark in the Park’s funders.
How do I keep my children, pets and farm animals safe?
We have a range of options for controlling predators to protect native wildlife. Get in touch with our Buffer Zone coordinator using the form below. They will help you find the right pest control plan for your specific circumstances and answer any questions you may have about the safety of pets if they roam outside your property.

Join the Buffer Zone

To be part of the Buffer Zone, please complete the form below or send us an email (arkbufferzone@gmail.com).

How would you like us to contact you?