Predator Free Waiheke
A unique opportunity exists to fully realise the potential of Waiheke’s natural environment and its setting in the wider Hauraki Gulf. Although it has been fortunate enough to be possum free, Waiheke does have a number of other animal predators that threaten both its existing native species as well as new arrivals.
These predators include rats, stoats, ferrets, mice, hedgehogs, feral cats and pigs – all of which limit or prevent the establishment of healthy forest and the survival of native birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
We have declared war on stoats!
The first step in our mission to create Predator Free Waiheke is an ambitious programme to eradicate mustelids – stoats, ferrets and weasels.
Building on existing initiatives, we have created a grid of 150+ stoat traps across the island (involving 68 landowners), starting with a large area between Whakanewha and Onetangi. This effort, generously supported by grants from DOC and Auckland Council, has been spearheaded by Carola Cullum (HCGT trustee) and Jo Richie (Treescape Environmental) and a trapper team led by stoat expert Adam Ingram.
An Expert Advisory Panel has been established to include leading scientists and others involved in mustelid and rodent control. A Stakeholders Group includes representatives from the Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust, Ngati Paoa, Waiheke Resources Trust, Hauraki Islands Branch of Forest & Bird, Rocky Bay Ratbusters, large landowners and the SPCA.
This project is complemented by similar trapping by landowners in the Western end of the island, coordinated by Sir Rob Fenwick (HGCT Patron and Chair of Predator Free NZ). In the first half of 2017 we hope to extend the project to Oneroa and the Eastern end of the island.
Rodents will be our next target – in 2017 we will be formulating a predator management plan and asking everyone to help us in a huge push to significantly reduce rat numbers, using new technology where we can to eventually rid our island of these critters. We will be building on what is already being done by the likes of Auckland Council and the Local Board, Forest and Bird, Rocky Bay Ratbusters and numerous individuals island wide, identifying the gaps and working out the best ways of filling them.
A significant part of this island wide predator free programme is a partnership with the community. We cannot undertake the work without your support for both the work on the ground as well as helping sell the benefits of a predator free environment. The greatest challenges will be removing the last few animals of each species and setting in place a biosecurity programme to ensure they do not return by swimming or coming in with freight/boats. Your support and any ideas about how we might do this are warmly welcomed.
Achieving predator free Waiheke …
… will contribute towards biodiversity protection, improve the ability for Waiheke Island to become a “Treasure Island” within the Hauraki Gulf and reduce the chance of re-invasion from Waiheke of nearby predator-free islands. It will also enhance the potential for the successful reintroduction of native fauna, such as Kiwi, allow Waiheke to become a sanctuary for existing native species, encourage and inspire Waiheke Island residents and visitors to participate in predator control and conservation and create a success story that will inspire everyone to become involved in environmental initiatives throughout the Hauraki Gulf.
Have you seen any predators on Waiheke?
Want to help and/or be kept informed and up to date?
Using the form below you can report any predators you have seen on Waiheke Island. Also, if you would like become involved or to be kept informed about this project please do let us know.