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Rangitoto and Motutapu to become totally pest free

Rangitoto and Motutapu to become totally pest free

Conservation Minister Steve Chadwick has released the details of plans to create the largest pest-free island territory in the Hauraki Gulf, by removing all pests from Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.

Initial investigations into the project by the Department of Conservation (DOC) have been very positive and it’s ready to start from June next year.

“Rangitoto and Motutapu islands are iconic features of the Auckland landscape, and restoring them to their original natural beauty is part of the Labour-led government’s commitment to preserving some of our most precious landscapes for all New Zealanders to enjoy.

“This is one of the most complex pest eradication projects we have ever attempted because of the range of pests being removed. They include two types of rat, mice, stoats, feral cats, rabbits and hedgehogs.

“Restoring the islands and repopulating them with rare native species is a flagship project for the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. The project aims to reintroduce kiwi, kaka, tuatara and mistletoe.

“Rangitoto’s unique pohutakawa and rata forest will also be able to grow without being destroyed by rodents or rabbits. This project will make the islands even more attractive for locals and tourists to visit.”

Feasibility work by DOC has included field trials on the islands with mice and hedgehogs, investigations into how to target rabbits and stoats, and consultation with local iwi and others.

The project will include:

  • Biosecurity measures – educating the public about how to avoid bringing pests to the islands, including new signs for visitors on both islands and the mainland

  • New infrastructure for pest control – building a network of tracks around the islands to set traps and other control measures

  • Bird and reptile monitoring programmes

  • Aerial bait drop – poison will be dropped to remove rodents within the next 3 years; DOC has applied for resource consent, submissions close tomorrow and a hearing is expected in March next year.

DOC’s Auckland Conservancy is running a major promotional campaign this summer to raise awareness of how to keep pests way from the Hauraki Gulf Islands, by checking boats and gear before going to the Islands.

ENDS

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