Predator Free Wellington is an ambitious project to make Wellington the first predator free capital city in the world. It aligns with the recently announced Government mission to make the whole of New Zealand predator free by 2050 and is supported by Wellington City Council, the Greater Wellington Regional Council and NEXT Foundation.
Predator Free Wellington Director James Willcocks, who has recently joined the project, says the online survey is being announced on the same day the new Predator Free Seatoun group is being launched. Seatoun residents have done a great job setting up a predator free community and they will begin trapping as soon as traps become available.
Willcocks has built a career in conservation. He was most recently Department of Conservations National Volunteering Manager, leading the department’s strategic approach for working with volunteers and conservation community groups.
“It’s fantastic to see so many communities forming predator free groups. Groups like Seatoun, Crofton Downs and many others making great strides towards removing stoats, possums and rats from Wellington suburbs. What this survey will do is give us a good understanding of the attitudes of Wellingtonians towards predator eradication,” he says.
The survey will be modelled on previous work completed in the Hauraki Gulf and will be tailored to a Wellington context. The survey will include a more detailed assessment of public attitudes, and potential barriers to the use of specific predator control tools available, including baiting and trapping.
Initially the predator free focus will be on developing a plan to eradicate rats and stoats from the Miramar Peninsula along with a strategy for extending this throughout Wellington City. The Miramar Peninsula was chosen as the initial area of focus as it has been possum free since 2006, and as a peninsula it is more easily defendable from predator reinvasion.
The Predator Free Wellington project team (WCC, GWRC and NEXT) hope their example will inspire other communities in Wellington to setup predator free groups and begin working towards the predator free 2050 goal.
If you would like to have your say on predator eradication in Wellington City, fill out the short survey on the Wellington City Council website. You will also go into a draw to win 5 x New World supermarket vouchers.