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Pest free Porirua looking to spread net wider

The desire to rid predators from the backyards and reserves of Porirua is growing.

Pest Free Porirua is now active in eight of the city’s suburbs, with Paremata just recently joining the campaign. Ranui is likely to be the next cab off the rank as the first steps are made into Porirua’s east.

Pest Free Porirua is a community movement - tied in with the national Predator Free 2050 drive - to make Porirua free of pests like rats and stoats by setting traps for them.

The traps are child and pet-friendly and can be easily set up in the back yard.

Schools are also involved in the initiative, which is active in eight suburbs in Porirua’s north and west.

The Plimmerton initiative was started by Heather Evans, Linda Kerkmeester and Lee McLauchlan in 2015. Since then, more than 1300 traps have been distributed across the eight suburbs, catching about 6000 rats and other predators.

The campaign is supported by the Department of Conservation and Porirua City Council.

Householders have reported declining numbers in rats, while more fantails, silvereyes and tui are being recorded.

Pest Free Whitby, for example, reported on its Facebook page at the end of March that its 150th rat had been caught since it launched on 1 September.

DOC senior ranger Angus Hulme-Moir says the community engagement has been proactive and social media a successful tool in making it successful. He hopes residents in eastern Porirua get involved too.

“It has been community-led and people are proud to see the difference they’re making that will have an impact for years to come,” he said.

“A substantial trapping network has been established in a very short space of time.”

Porirua City Council’s parks manager Olivia Dovey says the Council is proud to support the venture, with results worth the $20,000 investment.

“It’s been brilliant to see residents setting traps in their own backyards – what they’re doing will make a difference right across the city.”

Households can receive a free trap and box, with the option to make a donation to cover costs.

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