19 Oct 2017

Billy Barton: expert trapper

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:24 pm on 19 October 2017

Welshman Billy Barton and his pack of 16 dogs and 3 ferrets are working to combat pests like rabbits in the Wanaka area.

Billy, who 'rabbited' in the UK and Wales for 30 years before moving to New Zealand, has trained his three pet ferrets to chase rabbits into their burrows.

"Obviously the rabbits don't like a ferret. The old ferret will munch them up a bit, they evacuate their burrows when there's a ferret chasing them. We put nets over the holes and into the nets they go."

Rabbits are the top of the pest food chain, he says.

"If you've got a population of rabbits, not far away youll have a population of stoats and ferrets and cats hanging around … Get rid of your rabbits and your stoats and cats and things have got to move on to find another food source."

Billy is also working with the Department of Conservation to protect the Cromwell chafer beetle, only found in a small area near Cromwell, from redback spiders.

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