Do Wellingtonians want a predator free city?
Yes. We’ve completed some research with Wellington residents that tells us that 89% of residents are supportive, and 69% are keen to be involved.
Are you targeting cats?
No, but we encourage residents to be responsible pet owners. That means keeping cats indoors from dinnertime until breakfast, when their hunting instinct is at its strongest to help protect our native bird species. Councils have separate programmes underway (such as Wellington City Council’s Snip’n’Chip programme for cats) to promote responsible pet ownership.
Will you be using poison or traps which might put my pet or other animals in danger?
Our experts are looking at the best options available to completely remove stoats, possums and rats from the project area. There is no plan to use 1080 in urban environments but it’s likely the use of other poisons, which are already being used, will continue in reserve areas. We remind people to be responsible pet owners and keep dogs on leads where signage tells you that use of poisons is in place for predator eradication.
Backyard trappers will be provided with traps which are supplied in boxes, to prevent pets and small children from accessing the trap.
How will we know when the city is predator free?
A project this ambitious will take some time. By measuring and monitoring we’ll be able to declare areas predator free, but once achieved, monitoring will be essential to ensure we can manage the risk of incursions, and prevent these predators from re-establishing. The more visible signs of success will be seeing taonga species (such as korimako (bellbird), tīeke (saddleback), weta and geckos) dispersing, and recovering their place through parts of the city where they are still not seen.
What’s the difference between Predator Free 2050, Predator Free New Zealand Trust & Predator Free Wellington?
Predator Free 2050 Ltd has been created and is responsible for directing a significant amount of Crown investment into the Predator Free Programme, with a focus on breakthrough science and large scale predator control and eradication initiatives. The board of Predator Free 2050 Ltd will select large landscape projects for funding via an Expressions of Interest (EOI) and a Requests for Proposals (RFP) process.
The Predator Free NZ Trust is an independent organisation established in 2013. It’s vision is to connect and energise the nation towards a predator free New Zealand. It aims to do this through engaging and supporting individuals and community groups by helping them access the information and expertise they need. The Trust runs the Kiwibank Predator Free Community programme which supports communities to take on the predator free challenge and help everyday New Zealanders take action in their backyard. Two Wellington communities currently supported by this programme are Predator Free Mt Cook/Newtown and Predator Free Newlands
Predator Free Wellington will work alongside both of these organisations, with the aim of being the first predator free city in New Zealand. We’ll be supporting community backyard trapping groups with more resources, but also eradicating predators across the entire city’s boundaries.
There are other predator free groups - what is Predator Free Wellington’s role?
Predator Free Wellington will provide the technical expertise to completely eradicate possums, stoats and rats from the project area. We will work with the community, including Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, land and business owners and trapping groups to achieve this goal.
The project builds on and supports the work of these groups. There is amazing momentum amongst communities organising themselves to trap rats on their properties.
We will be a ‘one-stop-shop’ providing support and advice to trapping groups, not replacing them. As well as supplying traps, we provide advice on best practice, and can help build the capability of trapping groups through education.
Will eradicating predators have any negative flow on effects on the environment?
Our unique environment evolved in New Zealand for millions of years without introduced predators. The reality is that we don’t anticipate negative flow on effects but we don’t have all of the answers yet as this has never been done before. We are developing a monitoring framework to ensure we can measure changes in time.
What about everything else (hedgehogs, mice, pest weeds etc)?
We are focusing on rats, possums and mustelids as these are said to have the greatest impact on native biodiversity and it also ensures we are aligning with the Predator Free 2050 initiative. For now, these species are our primary focus but with time the project may evolve to incorporate more pests
Why start with Miramar Peninsula?
Possums were declared eradicated from Miramar Peninsula in 2006 and the area is geographically well positioned to attempt a rat and stoat eradication as it can be defended from reinvasion (Cobham Drive and the airport runway act as a barrier). Predator Free Seatoun, Predator Free Miramar and other community groups are already trapping there and Wellington City Council & Greater Wellington Regional Council have worked with a number of these groups to continue and extend pest control across all of the existing reserves.
We don’t live on the Miramar Peninsula, is there anything we can do now?
Absolutely! Suburban predator free groups are forming all over Wellington. Join your local organisation and set-up a trap in your back yard. Check out the groups on our website here, or take a look at Predator Free NZ’s website for information about how to set up a group. Another option is to join one of the many groups trapping in local reserves, click here for more information on them.
Can I contribute or donate to the project?
At this stage, the best way to contribute is with time, by volunteering with a local group. Once Predator Free Wellington has become an established charitable trust however, we’ll be welcoming financial support from local residents and businesses.
What about if we live out of the project area and want to get involved?
Predator free groups are forming all over the country as part of Predator Free 2050. Either join your local one or set up your own. Check out Predator Free NZ’s website to find your local group.