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Nature needs us to take action in our backyards this week

For this year’s Conservation Week, the Department of Conservation (DOC) is encouraging East Coasters to take action in their own backyards to be Predator Free by 2050.

DOC, Tairawhiti Environment Centre and partners are working together to launch a series of Understanding Predators workshops and a trap library as a community resource offering advice, information and the ability to trial or hire pest traps from the Environment Centre. This initiative aims to raise awareness of the impacts of predators and increase biodiversity in Gisborne city.

Conservation Week runs from 14-22 September, with the theme Nature Needs Us. New Zealand’s wildlife is still in crisis with more than 4,000 of our native animals and plants threatened or at risk.

DOC Biodiversity Ranger Jamie Quirk says predators like rats, stoats and possums have the biggest impact on populations of native birds, insects and lizards. Understanding the behaviour of these animals is a key factor in reducing this pressure.

“All these native species are part of what makes New Zealand unique. When we lose a species, we lose part of ourselves,” he says.

“People can learn more about setting traps on their properties through access to the trap library and upskilling at a predator workshop. Working together, we can help ensure New Zealand has an abundant, safe habitat for our taonga species.

“Anyone interested in trapping, habitat creation or starting their own group should visit the trap library and keep an eye out for upcoming workshops,” he adds.
TEC Manager Rena Kohere says the community demand for information on trapping and the trap library has been quite overwhelming so far.
“It’s wonderful to see how engaged people are with supporting our native flora and fauna in their backyards,” she says.
“We've had people send us photos of the rats they've caught, and neighbours are helping each other set up more traps with the aim of making their street predator free."
A variety of traps are available to trial and hire for those who are wanting to learn more about reducing the impact of predators on our city’s indigenous biodiversity.
School children can also enter the Pest Trap Competition. Information is on the TEC Facebook page. Other exciting events planned range from growing native trees, rural recycling to a bioblitz.

For further details about Conservation Week and to register for events, visit the website www.conservationweek.org.nz

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