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Possum and pest free plan for Mahia Peninsula

The Government is backing a Hawke’s Bay Regional Council plan to make Mahia Peninsula possum free with a $1.62 million funding injection announced by Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage today.

The Predator Free Hawke’s Bay Project builds on two existing projects and expands predator control work onto the Mahia Peninsula.

“The community wants to create a possum-free Mahia, and at the same time will control feral cats, stoats and ferrets,” Eugenie Sage said.

“The Government is contributing $1.62 million through a Predator Free 2050 Ltd investment over four years,” Eugenie Sage said.

The remaining $3.24m cost of the project will be shared by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (contributing $1.1 million), Aotearoa Foundation, Landcare Research, Department of Conservation, OMV NZ Ltd, Maungaharuru Tangitū, Zero Invasive Predators, and landholders.

“The Predator Free Hawke’s Bay project builds on the success of other ecological restoration projects such as Cape to City and Poutiri Ao ō Tāne. The development of low-cost control methods on farmland are important for the project’s long-term aim of scaling up control and eradication across 700,00 ha of the Hawke’s Bay.”

Poutiri Ao ō Tāne has been tackling predator control and restoring plants and wildlife across Hawke’s Bay since 2011 and the Cape to City project since 2015.

“These projects have brought together DOC, landowners and farmers, iwi, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, Cape Sanctuary and Manaaki Whenua/Landcare Research, along with funding support from the Aotearoa Foundation.

“Now, with Hawke’s Bay Regional backing for the project through its long-term plan and regional pest management plan, pest control efforts in the Hawke’s Bay are about to go to the next level.

“This funding decision recognises the collaborative and innovative work already underway by many committed farmers and community groups in the region which has been integral to the development of the Predator Free Hawke’s Bay Project. 

“The Predator Free Hawke’s Bay Project is the second of what are likely to be a number of PF2050 Ltd investments in collaborative, regional predator control projects aimed at taking New Zealand closer to the ambitious goal of being predator free,” Eugenie Sage said.

Contacts: Maggie Tait – 027 346 9570

Note for Editors:

Simultaneous possum eradication and feral cat/mustelid predator suppression on Mahia Peninsula will use wireless monitoring of live capture traps.

This is intended to eradicate possums on Mahia Peninsula. It aims to reduce the costs of initial predator control on farmland by up to 50 per cent. Importantly this will also free up resources currently allocated to possum control to help fund future predator eradication. This ability to shift funds from existing possum control to large scale control targeted at a range of predators is an important PFNZ 2050 private land funding mechanism.

A large scale Para-Aminopropiophenone (PAPP) trial for mustelids and feral cats will test the cost effectiveness of this toxin as an initial tool reducing predators on farmland.

The installation of a significant wireless trap monitoring across farmland will test the value and application of wireless in helping farmers participate in landscape scale predator control. It should also reduce the ongoing costs of controlling and suppressing predators on farmland until eradication is possible.

The aim is to reduce by up to 50 per cent the number of traps used and to have wireless monitoring on 80 per cent of the traps.

Rat control in fragmented bush areas within the project area should deliver additional biodiversity and conservation benefits. The ZIP team will share their knowledge on how to optimise farmland rat control.