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Roadkill And Official Information Release Shows Growing Mustelid Pest Problem For Region

In bad news for birdlife, roadkill and trappings have shown that Transmission Gully is a mustelid highway - with stoats, ferrets and weasels among the animals using it to get around.

An official information release from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport agency shows 226 pests were trapped between November 2022 and January 2024, with rats, stoats, weasels, hedgehogs, mice, ferrets, possums, and rabbits all making the list.

Chair of Greater Wellington, Daran Ponter, says that the news is worrying for conservation efforts like Capital Kiwi and Predator Free Wellington and that current central government budgets are wholly inadequate.

“Despite writing to Transport Minister Simeon Brown back in December, the pest control investment for Transmission Gully remains at $16,400 per annum. This is incredibly light, and the 226 animals trapped could be the tip of the roadkill iceberg along the 27km stretch,” says Cr Ponter.

Penny Gaylor, chair of Greater Wellington’s Environment Committee and councillor for Kāpiti says Greater Wellington has also shared concerns about the Kāpiti Expressway.

“Any lessons learned on Transmission Gully need to be applied to the Kāpiti Expressway immediately. Businesses and landowners have more than enough trouble with rabbits and can do without the additional fear of a Kāpiti mustelid Express Pest-way on their doorsteps,” says Cr Gaylor.

Jack Mace, director of delivery for Greater Wellington’s Environment Group says pest control needs investment, growing and supporting more community efforts, and cooperation between agencies.

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“Our team at Greater Wellington are already using the data map where these pests have been caught and squashed on Transmission Gully. We want to involve as many community catches as possible too. The valuable insight from active groups is a good way of showing what work is going on outside the expressway corridor,” says Mr Mace.

Greater Wellington is meeting with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Transmission Gully project team and the Wellington Transport Alliance to discuss trapping plans and opportunities to work together.

Conversations are also progressing with Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga - Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, with the agency having a significant amount of land that adjoins the expressway.

Read the official information release from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency at Greater Wellington’s Advocacy page.

“We’re looking closely at what role our regional parks can play too, with these roads passing through parts of QEP, Battle Hill and Belmont. This will require significant community involvement as we’ll need all the help we can get to service these traps,” adds Mr Mace.

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