Ambitious programme to rid NZ of three pests

DOC Ranger Kellie Mayo with Minister for Conservation Maggie Barry and Jake and Tomomi Bowcock from Pest Free Esk Hill.
DOC Ranger Kellie Mayo with Minister for Conservation Maggie Barry and Jake and Tomomi Bowcock from Pest Free Esk Hill.

Killing pests was the hot topic at the Predator Free 2050 event held by the Department of Conservation in Napier last week.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry spoke of the ambitious Predator Free 2050 vision and encouraged all to take part.

She says it is an ambitious programme to rid New Zealand of three of our most damaging introduced predators - possums, rats and stoats - by 2050.

"It will deliver huge benefits for the social and cultural links with our environment, for our regional economies through primary industries and tourism and for our threatened native species.

"Achieving this goal will require new technology and a coordinated and collective impact of individuals, communities, central and local government, iwi, OSPRI [Operational Solutions for Primary Industries], philanthropists, non-government organisations, businesses, science and research organisations and land owners."

One such organisation is local community group Pest Free Esk Hill, who the Minister presented with 20 DOC200 predator traps, which will be deployed in local backyards.

Tomomi Bowcock, Pest Free Esk Hill spokesperson says this will boost their efforts tremendously.

"We started with support from DOC, who gave us 20 possum traps and Hawke's Bay Regional Council who gave us 20 DOC200 traps."

OSPRI also stepped up and provided the group with a number of One Station Kills All [OSKA] bait traps to combat tuberculosis in the area.

"Our aim is to make a positive difference to our local biodiversity and have 100 traps, checked weekly by the community," Tomomi said.

The event also included the launch of a trap library, a Q&A session with the Minister, predator trap demonstrations and talks about local initiatives. It was a jam-packed day.
Predator Free 2050 aims to rid New Zealand of three of the most damaging introduced predators - possums, rats and stoats - by 2050.

It will deliver huge benefits for the social and cultural links with our environment, for our economy through primary industries and tourism and for our threatened native species.
In Hawke's Bay, a lot is already being done by groups and agencies, and there is a lot of enthusiasm for the prospect of a pest-free New Zealand.

"Predator Free 2050 allows those initiatives to have a clear, shared voice, and it encourages others to take part in this ambitious goal," Kellie Mayo, Hawke's Bay Predator Free ranger says.

Some of the initiatives already underway in Hawke's Bay include: Hohepa's wetland enhancement project, Cape to City, Poutiri Ao o Tane, Friends of A'Deans bush, Pest Free Esk Hill, Whatuma Restoration community group, Cape Sanctuary, Maungataniwha biodiversity restoration programmes, Ahuriri Bittern protection, Pan Pac Predator control, ECOED Kiwi protection, The Hawke's Bay Biodiversity Strategy and the Whangawehi Catchment management group.

As the Predator Free 2050 programme becomes established there will be increasing opportunities to become involved.

Visit www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/predator-free-2050/ for more information.

- Hastings Leader

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