Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Little Barrier Rat Removal Underway

Little Barrier Rat Removal Underway

An operation to rid one of New Zealand's premiere island nature reserves of rats is now underway.

Department of Conservation conservator Rob McCallum said that after six years of planning it was exciting to at last be removing kiore (Pacific rats) - the last introduced animal pest - from Hauturu (Little Barrier).

"Hauturu is one of New Zealand's most precious places. Getting rid of kiore will remove a key threat to native species on the island and will transform the forest ecosystem.

"This operation is hugely important for safeguarding a part of our biodiversity that has been lost from most other places."

Three helicopters spread rat bait over the 3083-hectare island in what is one of the largest island rat eradications undertaken by the Department of Conservation (DOC). The operation will be completed following a second aerial drop, which will take place when conditions allow.

Mr McCallum said that the first bait drop was on target to finish today. "We're confident that with our experience of island pest eradications and the detailed planning that has gone into this operation, it will become a major success story for conservation in New Zealand."

Mr McCallum thanked all those who had supported the project, including the Little Barrier Supporters Trust, Victoria University, Ngati Manuhiri, Ngati Rehua and the NZ Navy, which assisted DOC with GPS equipment needed to keep the precision guidance systems on line for the helicopters.

In the last three years DOC has removed rodents on islands as diverse as sub-antartic Campbell Island and sub-tropical Raoul Island in the Kermadecs. Campbell Island was declared rat free last year, while Raoul is currently being monitored two years after the combined rat and cat operation there.

Removing kiore from Hauturu will make the long-term survival of threatened species such as Cook's petrel, giant weta, and Duvaucel's gecko more certain. It will also mean that a hundred tuatara, currently kept safe from kiore in an enclosure, can be released to repopulate the island.

Once kiore are gone, it is expected that natural processes will restore a self sustaining diverse forest ecosystem with large numbers of burrowing seabirds, tuatara, lizards and insects.

It will be two years before the success of the operation can be determined, when intensive monitoring will be carried out to check for rats on the rugged island.

The $700,000 pest eradication project is largely funded under the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>


Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>


Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>


Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election