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Government funding to support nature flourishing in Predator Free Capital

That funding allows DOC to plan ahead and target the pests that are devastating the habitats of New Zealand’s unique species.


Government Press Release 08 Aug 2018, 01:23 AM New Zealand
  • That funding allows DOC to plan ahead and target the pests that are devastating the habitats of New Zealand’s unique species. (Image Credit: Twitter)

The Government is supporting a project to make Wellington the world’s first predator-free capital city with a $3.27 million funding boost announced by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage today.

Capital Kiwi Project (a charitable trust) and Predator Free Wellington, a joint venture between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and NEXT Foundation are jointly working to create a predator-free Wellington which the Predator Free 2050 Limited funding will support.

“This work will help native plants and wildlife thrive and in future could enable kiwi to be introduced into Wellington’s urban wild landscape outside Zealandia,” Eugenie Sage said.

“Wellingtonians have shown their commitment to saving nature by achieving the country’s first predator free suburb with Crofton Downs, and a further 43 of the city’s 52 suburbs are running active community-based predator control programmes.

“Wellington’s Zealandia has also been inspiring. As New Zealand’s first fenced sanctuary it has seen the return of many species of native birds, insects, and lizards. They flourish behind the predator-proof fences and species like tieke/Saddleback are now nesting beyond the sanctuary.

“Predator Free Wellington and Capital Kiwi Project will scale up these efforts into a $15 million, 10-year project to eradicate possums, rats, and mustelids from 30,000ha within the city boundaries.

“Initially the plan is to eradicate rats, weasels, and stoats from the Miramar Peninsula, before rolling out across the entire Wellington City. Concurrently Predator Free Wellington is supporting predator control in reserves and backyards across the city to continue predator control to protect indigenous bird and lizard populations which are growing dramatically.

“In the urban areas, Predator Free Wellington will continue to support the community backyard trapping movement and use a mix of tools and approaches to eradicate stoats, rats, and possums from the project area, and defend it from reinvasion.

“The Capital Kiwi Project is working in collaboration with Greater Wellington Council, landowners, iwi and the community groups to accelerate the eradication of stoats from the Wellington area to enable kiwi to be re-introduced.

“New Zealand has a predator crisis – 82% of native birds are threatened with, or at risk of extinction.

“From the backyards to the backblocks of the country, central and local government, iwi, whānau, hāpu, landholders, conservation groups, businesses, philanthropic organizations, communities and individual Kiwis love our unique native plants and wildlife and want to see them protected.”

 Predator Free 2050 Limited is a government-owned charitable company established to support co-funding arrangements that help expand and scale-up predator control operations. It aims to work towards a predator-free New Zealand by 2050.

Initially, the plan is to eradicate rats, weasels, and stoats from the Miramar Peninsula, before rolling out across the entire Wellington City. While work proceeds in Miramar, Predator Free Wellington is supporting predator control in reserves and backyards across the city. Indigenous bird and lizard populations are growing dramatically across the city so it’s important these are allowed to flourish by continuing to control predators.

In the urban areas, Predator Free Wellington will continue to support the community backyard trapping movement initiated by Wellingtonian Kelvin Hastie which saw Crofton Downs become New Zealand’s first predator-free community in 2015. This backyard approach suppresses predators. But to finish the job and completely eradicate stoats, rats, and possums from the project area, and defend it from reinvasion, the project needs to use a mix of tools and approaches.

The Capital Kiwi Project is working in collaboration with councils, iwi, communities, and landowners in eradicating stoats southwards from Johnsonville: from the large rural zone in the south-west to the edges of the city; taking in farm stations, wind farms and reserves and supporting community restoration groups working in these areas. After three years of meeting the Kiwi Recovery Group criteria, the goal is for the kiwi to be translocated to the area.

In addition to the funding being provided by Predator Free 2050 Limited, Budget 2018 provided an extra $81.3 million in new funding to DOC for landscape-scale predator control as part of an extra $181.6 million in operational funding for DOC over the next four years. That funding allows DOC to plan ahead and target the pests that are devastating the habitats of New Zealand’s unique species.


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