$35m plan to rid island of rats and feral cats

$35m plan to rid island of rats and feral cats – 11 Mar 2008 – NZ Herald: New Zealand and International environment and global warming news
Peter Jean Caley

oil painting of South island Tomtit by Peter Jean Caley

Stewart Island interests are considering an ambitious $35 million proposal to eradicate rats, wild cats and possums from the island.

The proposal has initial support from parts of the community but is likely to be vehemently opposed by deer hunters. It includes a predator fence around the settlement of Oban and plans for widespread aerial poison drops.

Described as New Zealand’s biggest conservation project, it aims to “make Stewart Island the Galapagos of the South”.

Copies of the proposal have been given to community groups and key “stakeholders” before a public meeting on April 3.

The “draft feasibility study” has been prepared by the Stewart Island/Rakiura Community and Environment Trust, with support from the Department of Conservation and the Tindall Foundation.

Proposed “border control” measures could include teams of rodent-checking dogs monitoring departures from Bluff and Invercargill and arrivals on the island.

It is hoped bird species such as kakapo, saddleback, mohua, kokako and teal may eventually be reintroduced to Stewart Island.

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update: tv3 video of the same story

New homes lined up in bid to rescue rare kiwi

Dozens of rare West Coast kiwi may be moved away from their ancestral homes to islands in the Hauraki Gulf and Foveaux Strait in a desperate attempt to save the species from extinction.

The Department of Conservation says it has to create back-up populations, away from stoats, to avert extinction.

Although some Haast and Okarito Rowi kiwi chicks are already raised away from predators, they are returned to their home forest in South Westland when they are large enough to fight off stoats.

Under new proposals, DoC wants to move breeding pairs of Okarito birds to the sub-tropical Motuihe Island in the Hauraki Gulf, near Auckland, and up to 10 Haast birds to Rarotoka Island, in Foveaux Strait.

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Kiwi death prompts call for tighter leash on dogs

Kiwi death prompts call for tighter leash on dogs: Media release

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A fatal dog attack on a Stewart Island brown kiwi / tokoeka has highlighted the need for dog owners to be keep their animals under control at all times.

The Department of Conservation was alerted to the incident by a member of the public who found the dead kiwi lying on Traill Park, opposite the Oban police station on Stewart Island / Rakiura.

Stewart Island field centre supervisor Sharon Pasco described the kiwi’s death as disappointing and preventable.

“In recent years kiwi have been making an appearance around the town with many locals either seeing them or hearing them in their own gardens, but this kiwi population is only small in number, making this loss a real blow.” more