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Meridian Community Fund Helps To Stamp Out Stoats

24 October 2008

Meridian Community Fund Helps To Stamp Out Stoats

The Kepler Challenge stoat-trapping project is a step closer to helping the survival of a variety of bird species around the Kepler track, thanks to a grant from the Meridian Manapouri Te Anau Community Fund, and a group of hard working volunteers.

In its second round of funding for 2008, the Meridian Manapouri Te Anau Community Fund granted $5,000 to assist the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee with its project to establish and maintain stoat traps along the Kepler Track.

Over a period of eight weeks more than 20 volunteers from the Te Anau area spent their weekends laying new traps.

Annie Wallace, from the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee, says they are grateful for the support of the Meridian Community Fund.

“New Zealand's native fauna has evolved without any predatory mammals, but introduced species such as stoats and rats have had a devastating impact on bird populations. There are so many wonderful species of bird-life including Whio and Kiwi around the track and we believe it is important to protect them,” she says.

“The survival of the bird-life is greatly increased through trapping, so we are grateful for the support from the Meridian Community Fund. Its funding has enabled us to replace our old-style traps with new stainless steel traps that will be much more effective in trapping stoats and rats,” she added.

In 2006 the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee entered into a partnership with the Department Of Conservation to establish and maintain stoat traps around the length of the Kepler Track.

The 21st Nike ACG Kepler Challenge will be run on 6 December and is the premier Mountain Running event in New Zealand. The race has been held annually since 1988 and follows the Kepler Track, starting at the Control Gates of Lake Te Anau.

Using a proportion of runner entry fees, and other funds raised, the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee has established traps at 200m intervals around the length of the Kepler track.

Alan Seay, Chairperson of the Meridian Manapouri Te Anau Community Fund, says the stoat-trapping project is exactly the type of environmental project the Meridian Community Funds were set up to support.

“It is great to see everyone get stuck in and make things happen. This community-led project has done a great job of promoting environmental awareness in the area. The efforts by the Kepler Challenge Organising Committee to protect the local bird-life will make a real difference to the ecology of the area for years to come,” he says.

The Meridian Manapouri Te Anau Community Fund is to the value of $500,000 over three years and is managed by a panel of community members and Meridian staff, who work together to help decide which local initiatives are supported.

To find out more about the Meridian Manapouri Te Anau Community Fund visit http://www.meridian.co.nz

Applications for consideration in the next round must be submitted by 6 November 2008.

For more information on the Kepler Challenge including race entry details visit www.keplerchallenge.co.nz.

ENDS


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