By Lee Barry, Community Ranger
Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the NEXT Foundation have joined forces, inspired by the Government’s Predator Free 2050 vision, to work towards a predator-free city, starting with the Miramar Peninsula.
Crofton Downs was declared New Zealand’s first predator-free suburb in 2015, and that project’s coordinator Kelvin Hastie has been appointed as a Predator Free Community Champion.
Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said, “I think we have found the man who will be the pied piper and free us from vermin in the city.”
Kelvin said at the launch that the plan aims to cement the city as a place where “work and play sit side-by-side with birds, lizards, geckos and invertebrates”.
“In 10 years time when this is successful the city will be teeming with birds and along the way we will be able to reintroduce iconic species like kiwi and kōkako and some of our rare lizards,” Hastie said. “Wellington will be back into full song.”
As over 150 Wellingtonians heard at a recent sold-out DOC Conservation Week event, Miramar was successfully cleared of possums in the early 2000’s. The next targets in the easy-to-isolate suburb will be rats and stoats.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry hailed self-resetting traps designed by Wellington start-up Goodnature, which are able to kill 24 times before being reset, as the kind of technology which will allow the project to succeed, and suggested DOC could have a role to support their deployment.
“[These traps] are the way of the future … so I think people at a domestic level will find those sort of traps very good, but not as financially accessible [as single traps].”
“That’s where we would look to be of practical assistance.”
So far no money has changed hands and the first stages of the project involve appointing a project director and thrashing out detailed plans, however community trapping projects continue to expand across Wellington’s suburbs.
Kapiti/Wellington office works in partnership with the wave of community groups who are adopting predator-free. The most recent group to launch was Pest-Free Plimmerton, with a helping hand from Kelvin.
Did you miss DOC Kapiti Wellington’s sold-out Conservation Week event “Predator Free Capital – What Would It Take?” Watch below: