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Present danger...Edendale's Richard Ranstead examines a possum leg-hold trap he and his father John found about a metre from the Seaward Downs Loop Track while walking Jess the dog.PHOTO:SANDY EGGLESTON

Finding a possum leg-hold trap near the Seaward Downs Loop Track has been a distressing experience for one resident.

Brydone woman Yasmina Rezzoug found the trap in the reserve, which is managed by the Department of Conservation (Doc), on Monday.

Miss Rezzoug said it was very concerning to find a trap not far into the bush as many families had been walking the track during lockdown.

“I have never in 20 years seen so many people up there,” Miss Rezzoug said.

Her concern was the trap was very close to the edge of the bush and people might not see such traps and stand on them.

“We have a right to be safe.

“I hate the thought [that] if anyone treads in them, a toddler, there will be horrific injuries,” Miss Rezzoug said.

She knew that children played a game in the bush where they looked for painted stones.

Once a stone was found the child found a new hiding place for it.

“Where the traps are they are so close to the walking part, and to the picnic area, anybody who puts down their fingers is in danger of losing their fingers.”

Last year she had confronted a man carrying a bucket of traps at the reserve.

When she asked the man if he was going to lay the traps he said he was.

When she went home she reported the incident to Doc.

Edendale resident John Ranstead and his son Richard have been walking their dog Jess at the reserve and have also found a trap.

Mr Ranstead said he was not opposed to the traps being in the bush.

“We need the possum traps but we need them away from the tracks.”

Southland district councillor Paul Duffy said the track was an easily accessible place for families to walk.

“It’s important that it’s safe,” he said.

Doc senior ranger of biodiversity Ros Cole said there were no current permits issued for anyone to set traps in the reserve.

“Anyone undertaking possum trapping or poisoning on conservation land needs permission from the Department of Conservation.

“This permission is granted in the form of a permit which has very clear conditions, including the prohibition of setting traps on and near walking tracks.”

Doc took complaints like this very seriously and was investigating the matter.

“The nature of possum trapping means that often when we get to a site, the traps have been removed already.”