Eastern Northland is better off without 100,000 animal pests that have been removed in the past three years along Northland’s “Kiwi Coast”.
The Kiwi Coast is a collaborative initiative that supports and links over 60 community, agency and iwi-led projects in eastern Northland to create New Zealand’s first modern day kiwi corridor.
Individually the pest totals from 2013 – 2015 included: 47,054 possums;45,278 rats; 6,242 hedgehogs; 2,384 stoats; 1,636 weasels; 3,584 wild rabbits; 1,623 feral cats; 291 feral pigs; 281 magpies; 4,586 mynas and seven ferrets.
More than just impressive numbers, these are the real results recorded from actual trap checks and the data then collated from all the groups involved. The shared pest results represent thousands of hours of trap checking each year by a mix of unpaid and professional trappers working hard to reduce animal pests so native wildlife can thrive.
In 2015 alone, a total of 52,091 animal pests were trapped, meaning that every week over 1000 pests are being destroyed on the Kiwi Coast.
Kiwi Coast Coordinator Ngaire Tyson says these results are minimums of the actual numbers of pests destroyed as many groups also use poison baits, and pests eradicated this way are not included.
Over 60 groups and projects along Northland’s east coast from Whangarei Heads to Hihi are now involved in the Kiwi Coast.
Together the combined total area under pest control with traps and toxins on the Kiwi Coast has now reached 74,623 hectares. This area continues to grow as new groups start, existing trapping areas expand and more communities get involved, resulting in more and more animal pests being removed from Northland each year.
Some of the groups involved in the Kiwi Coast have been operating for over a decade and have successfully created biodiversity strongholds on both public and private land.
The Department of Conservation’s Northland Kiwi Call Count for 2014 showed that overall kiwi are increasing at a slow and steady rate at sites along the Kiwi Coast where predators are controlled to low levels. This bucks the national trend identified by the Kiwis for Kiwi Trust of a nationwide decline in kiwi of 2% per year. In fact, monitoring shows that kiwi populations have more than doubled at a number of sites on the Kiwi Coast.
“As stoats are known to kill 95% of wild kiwi chicks within their first year, removing 873 stoats from the Kiwi Coast in one year is going to be a big help in ensuring that Northland brown kiwi populations continue to increase” Ngaire says.
Given the complex food webs that link these species, the tens of thousands of rats, possums and other pests also removed will also contribute greatly to a holistic improvement in the overall native biodiversity. Summer research carried out with the Department of Conservation and the NorthTec Conservation Management course is currently establishing baseline information for pateke, bellbird and kaka in eastern Northland.
“As pest control occurs along the Kiwi Coast, we can expect to see kiwi and other native wildlife such as pateke/brown teal, korimako/bellbird and kaka thrive and expand into new areas” says Ngaire.
The Kiwi Coast is a key project of Reconnecting Northland, a large landscape connectivity programme offering a new approach to improving the health and wellbeing of the Northland environment and its people.
Reconnecting Northland is a collaboration between WWF-New Zealand and the NZ Landcare Trust. It is funded by The Tindall Foundation, Foundation North and HSBC Water Programme. The programme is guided by Northland-based steering group and staff.
For more information contact the Ngaire Tyson – the Kiwi Coast Coordinator.