Waiheke’s predator free goals have recently received a welcome boost in national profile and an opportunity to secure large scale funding. Predator Free Waiheke is one of seven projects (and the only project from Auckland) selected to provide a full project proposal for funding consideration by Predator Free 2050 Ltd in early 2018.
In 2016 the New Zealand Government announced its Predator Free by 2050 goal and funding support via PF2050 Ltd. PF2050 Ltd has significant funding available, for 2-3 projects nationwide, which will achieve breakthrough science and/or large-scale predator control and eradication initiatives. Predator Free Waiheke was originally one of 45 projects to submit expressions of interest for funding in October 2017 and has since been asked to proceed to the full proposal round of the funding process.
Project spokesperson Mary Frankham says “Waiheke Island’s environment and community would be transformed if we were free of rats and stoats. Iconic species like kaka and little blue penguins would rebound in our forests and on our shores—and other seabirds that nest here like grey-faced petrels. And if we all pull together we can achieve it by 2025. Waiheke represents a fantastic opportunity to free ourselves of predators over a diverse island landscape and community. And other parts of New Zealand will be watching our progress—Waiheke could be one of the first populated islands in the world to become predator free.”
“Our goal is ambitious but achievable, and will be made possible by the all-inclusive collaboration of groups and individuals on Waiheke and key project partners. The significant existing efforts of the Waiheke community to protect its native flora and fauna through many community stoat and rat control projects provides gives the confidence that we can achieve this goal. Predator Free Waiheke is about connecting all of these projects together with an island-wide programme, “ says Ms Frankham.
Predator Free Waiheke is being championed by the Waiheke Collective. The Waiheke Collective, established in September 2017, is a collaboration between Waiheke community groups and individuals committed to the ecological restoration of Waiheke Island. These include the Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust (HGCT), Hauraki Gulf Islands Forest and Bird, QEII covenant landowners, Waiheke Resources Trust, Waiheke Rat Busters, Jo Ritchie (ecological consultant) and operational support staff from Department of Conservation and Auckland Council.
Ms Frankham says the Collective has an open membership and is keen to have as many of the island’s ecological restoration groups and individuals join, there will be further information and opportunities to get involved coming up in 2018. A website is being progressed and correspondence can be directed to [email protected]
The Collective has been mapping the current animal pest control activity on Waiheke, “we know at least 30% of Waiheke land is already under some level of rat control. We are keen to expand our knowledge of pest control on the island, if you would like to have your pest animal control efforts added to our database please contact the Waiheke Collective by email”, said Ms Frankham.
The Collective has support and funding from the Waiheke Local Board to develop an ecological restoration vision and strategy document for Waiheke in collaboration with key partners. This process will be coordinated by a facilitator and will take place in early 2018. Following this process, the Waiheke Collective plans to establish a formal legal entity. Once funding is secured the Collective members will be working with our Waiheke community to provide information and advice on a range of bait and trapping options for controlling rats and mustelids across the Waiheke landscape, including people’s backyards. A website is in production and should be up and running in February. “At it’s heart, predator eradication isn’t actually about killing, it’s about saving animals. Rats, stoats and other imported predators have large global populations and breed easily, while our unique NZ animals only live in a small area and have tiny populations – most of our native birds are threatened. Doing something about that and giving our wildlife a chance to survive is something that many Waiheke people are passionate about,” say’s Ms Frankham.
Over the next 12 months the Collective is progressing a number of predator control projects for Waiheke. The immediate focus for the Waiheke Collective and partners over the next few weeks will be compiling a full project proposal for PF2050 Ltd, for submission on January 29th 2018.
Details on the other Collective projects and a project outline for Predator Free Waiheke is available on request, by emailing: [email protected]
Auckland Council media release