Predator Free Waiheke ambition
Waiheke Island is possum-free and now the community has rats and stoats in its sights as part of a bid to make the whole island predator free by 2025, Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage says.
Eugenie Sage today announced $2.6 million of Predator Free 2050 Ltd funding for Te Korowai o Waiheke: Towards Predator Free Waiheke. A total of $10.9 million is budgeted for the project which was launched at Piritahi Marae on Waiheke today.
“Waiheke covers 9,200 hectares and around 9,000 people live there. Successful eradication of stoats and rats from Waiheke would make it the world’s largest and most populated island predator eradication project,” Eugenie Sage said.
“A predator-free Waiheke will see the return of native birds from neighbouring predator-free islands such as Motuihe, Motutapu and Rangitoto.
“We are already starting to see this happen with the recent return of North Island kākā to Waiheke.
“Eradicating rats and stoats will enable North Island kākā, kākāriki, kereru, tui, korimako or bellbird, piwakawaka or fantail, tūturiwhatu or New Zealand dotterel, ōi or grey-faced petrel and kororā or little blue penguins to breed safely and increase in number on Waiheke.
“The Waiheke project is a wonderful example of how agencies and the community are working together to reduce predators with the goal of freeing New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats,” Eugenie Sage said.
“Auckland Council, Predator Free 2050 and Foundation North are providing the bulk of the funding for the people of Waiheke to rid their island of stoats and rats.
“New Zealand has a predator crisis with 82 per cent of our native birds threatened with or at risk of extinction.
“From urban backyards to country backblocks, central and local government, iwi, whānau, hāpu, landholders, conservation groups, businesses, philanthropic organisations, communities and individual Kiwis are working to protect our unique native plants and wildlife with the goal of making New Zealand Predator Free by 2050.”