Animal pest control

Animal pests are a major threat to native wildlife. Wellington City Council manages a robust animal pest management program to protect our native wildlife in Council reserves.

Collaborating with communities for pest control

Over the years, the Council has built a strong animal pest control programme that collaborates with community groups, private land owners, residents, and volunteers.

We support nearly 30 community volunteer groups from Island Bay to Tawa. These groups manage traps for rats, mice, and mustelids in reserves and beach areas.

The Council also:

  • works in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC)
  • supports initiatives such as Predator Free Wellington
  • employs contractors to carry out large-scale work.

Managing pests in important areas

Pest control operations are focused on high-value biodiversity sites, which are home to iconic species such as kākā, kererū, and little blue penguins (kororā).

This includes the Zealandia “Halo” Project, Ōtari-Wilton’s Bush, and Te Kopahou reserve. With the addition of a new possum control project near the Southern Landfill, all reserves around the sanctuary are now protected.

Wellington City Council concentrates its pest management on the following pest animals:

  • Feral pigs and feral goats
  • Feral rabbits/ hares
  • Stoat, weasels, rats, mice, hedgehogs
  • Possums

Greater Wellington Pest Control Operations map

Predator Free Wellington

Imagine if Wellington were the world’s first predator free capital city. That’s the vision behind Predator Free Wellington – a united network in Wellington working together to eradicate rats, mustelids and possums, so our native wildlife can thrive.

This focus of this joint project between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council, and the NEXT Foundation is to eradicate predators from the Miramar Peninsula before moving into other Wellington suburbs.

Predator Free Wellington

Progress on the possum problem

The Council, in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), runs a significant possum-control programme covering nearly 4,800 hectares (1 hectare= 1 rugby field) of private and public land in Wellington City.

This work was started in 1996 and also helps to control rats and mice with a series of bait stations and trap networks across most of our reserves and park spaces. Makara Peak and Redwood Bush have been key areas where community groups have worked to help control these animal pests.

Pigs, rabbits, and goats gone wild

Wild pigs, rabbits, and goats consume native vegetation, alter habitats, spread weeds, and cause erosion.

The Council manages wild goats and pigs in areas such as Makara Peak, the Outer Green Belt, and neighbouring buffer zones with contracted professional hunting.

Feral rabbits are controlled on reserves through night hunting operations. We employ a professional animal control team through Greater Wellington's Biosecurity Team one night every second month.

During hunting operations, signage is displayed in the areas where the Biosecurity team is working, and silenced firearms are used to avoid disturbance to surrounding areas. The Police are always notified and the highest level of public safety is assured.

We are currently undertaking a Pindone rabbit control operation to reduce the rabbit population across the Outer Green Belt skyline. For more information, see the Skyline Pindone rabbit control operation project page.

Mustelids must go

Though originally introduced to control rabbits on farmland, mustelids (stoats, weasels and ferrets) have become a much larger problem. Particularly for native birds, mustelids are by far one of the biggest threats.

Mustelid control is now improving, largely due to the efforts of environmental volunteers and community groups with the support of the Council and other organisations.

A key focus of mustelid control has been in the reserves around Zealandia to protect birds that venture outside the boundary fence.

The successful rise of native birds in Wellington

With the gradual decline of animal pests in Wellington, we are starting to see the increase of native birds. Once hard to spot kererū, tui, and kākā are now dotting our skies.

The Council acknowledges the hard work of all those involved. There are heaps of ways you can help us. Volunteer, find funding or get started in your backyard.

What you can do for the environment