Upskill in best practice predator control and support local residents to trap in their backyards! 

Backyard trapping is integral to City Sanctuary's progress. Many Dunedin residents are eager to help create a City Sanctuary but do not have the time or confidence to regularly check, rebait and enter data for the trap(s) they host on their property. We need friendly volunteer helpers to support residents by: 

  • Servicing traps on residential properties
  • Undertaking H&S site assessments and installing traps in backyards
  • Educating residents on how to use traps and helping them understand why we need to trap

Activity Location / Workplace 

The locations of this task will vary depending on where backyard trapping help is needed. We’ll try and ensure that any backyard trapping support is close to where you live, either in walking distance or a short drive. City Sanctuary's operational area covers much of Dunedin City with the exception of the West Harbour and the Otago Peninsula. City Sanctuary's backyard trapping sites include: 

  • Māori Hill (pilot site*)
  • North Dunedin (pilot site*)
  • Caversham (pilot site*)
  • Dalmore
  • Liberton
  • North East Valley
  • Opoho
  • Pine Hill
  • Glenleith
  • Helensburgh
  • Balmacewen

*City Sanctuary's pilot sites are the three areas we are focussing our efforts on at present to see what works and what doesn't in terms of engagement and activation in residential areas. By getting involved with backyard trapping support in these areas you will be helping to set the tone of engagement for the other suburbs and how we engage. A trailblazing opportunity for anyone who is considering a career in urban predator control! 

Time Commitment

A single trap check only takes 5-10 minutes, depending on the trap and whether you’ve had a catch! Then there is the online data entry which can be done via the phone app which takes only a minute or two. The total time commitment and dates will vary depending on the number of backyard traps you are looking after and the number of pests you are catching. In high density predator areas, the City Sanctuary Coordinator will help facilitate a roster system with multiple volunteers sthat the workload can be sharedIt would be expected that you may need to dedicate 4 hours per month for this role, but there is a lot of flexibility in this task!  


  • Meet the property owner / resident so they know who will be entering their property and understand the conditions of entry to their property
  • Undertake H&S site assessments on residential backyards to measure whether it is safe for a trap to be installed or not 
  • Install the required trap and add it to the online database 
  • Check, rebait, clear catches and enter data for the backyard traps you manage in your area 
  • Liaise with the City Sanctuary Team regarding the efficacy of the trap by proving monthly verbal or written updates about the backyard trap(s) you manage  
  • Educate, encourage and train residents on how to manage their own backyard trap(s)

Skills Required


  • Willingness to learn about backyard trapping
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Positive and respectful attitude towards health and safety
  • Positive and respectful attitude toward ensuring animal welfare
  • Medium level of fitness and mobility
  • A can-do attitude


  • Previous trapping experience / knowledge of H&S protocols related to trapping
  • Power tool use
  • Current first aid certificate
  • Driver's license

Equipment / Training Required


When you’ve decided that you’d like to help others with their backyard trapping, we’ll train you in the field (or backyard as the case me be!). We’ll go through the process with you and show you how to use the easiest of the traps first, the T-Rex rat trap. This will give you a taste of what the task entails and from there, you can decide if you want to carry on, do more training and learn how to use some of the trickier traps. As we will be providing you with intensive training, we ask that you commit to this role for one year. This will also allow you to establish a strong connection with your backyard trap hosts. 

Resources / Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Gloves 
  • Safety glasses 
  • Hand sanitiser 
  • First-aid kit 
  • Branded high-vis vest 
  • Identification card 
  • Trap servicing tools
  • Administration access to our online database  

If you are interested in supporting others to trap in their backyards, fill out our Volunteer Registration and we'll be in touch! We will provide all the support, resources and training you need to feel confident and comfortable doing a great job. Ideally, you will live in the same area as where you will be checking traps. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to connect with their local community. We will keep a record of your volunteer contributions to ensure you can showcase your efforts on future job applications or your resumé!