Titahi Bay joins predator-free campaign
‘‘Backyard trapping is a huge part of making New Zealand rat, possum and stoat free.’’
Titahi Bay has joined five other Porirua suburbs in converting more than 500 residents into ratkillers.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry congratulated the move, which plays a part in the goal set one year ago to see New Zealand become predator-free by 2050.
‘‘Backyard trapping is a huge part of making New Zealand rat, possum and stoat free,’’ Barry said.
‘‘Yet another predator-free suburb kicking off shows just how much enthusiasm there is from communities to get behind the idea.’’
Titahi Bay locals follow residents in Plimmerton, Mana/ Camborne, Pukerua Bay, Papakowhai and Golden Gate who already have traps in their backyards.
The Department of Conservation set up a team of nine Predator Free Community Rangers, backed with a contestable fund of $300,000, she said.
Their job is to use their expertise and skills to help communities like Titahi Bay scale up efforts, commit people to the cause and co-ordinate plans.
With support from the department and Porirua City Council, community organisers supply traps and advice to their neighbours to control pests in their backyards.
Teacher Dave Sutherland kicked off the Titahi Bay trapping group after seeing the surrounding suburbs get on-board.
Pest-Free Plimmerton organisers Heather Evans, Linda Kerkmeester and Lee McLauchlan started the city’s first pest-free suburb a year ago.
Kerkmeester said householders were seeing more fantails, silvereyes and tui in their backyards.
‘‘If we can protect the entire Porirua harbour edge from pests, we will see native birds and lizards returning to gardens, and being safe to spill-over from refuges like Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve.’’