Date: 24 April 2015
The rat and possum population in the Rotorua District has taken a bashing thanks to the hard work of the Rotoehu Ecological Trust (RET) supported by the Community Conservation Partnerships Fund (CCPF).
The dedicated volunteer organisation recently completed a pest control operation in the Pongakawa Ecological Area to support North Island Kokako along with the array of other native bird species found in the area.
The group's pest control project - 'Community and Kokako Enhancement' project has been supported by $27,505 from the CCPF. The fund is administered by the Department of Conservation with the aim of inspiring and enabling community-led conservation growth.
"The success of the Trust's pest control operation provides a great example of how the CCPF can support practical, on-the-ground projects which maintain and restore diversity" said Rotorua Partnerships Manager Helen Neale.
"Possum presence in the Pongakawa Ecological Area was measured at 4 per 100 traps before the pest control operation and we managed to reduce this to an average of 1.5 per 100 traps," said RET chairwoman Sarah Orton. "Post operation, we were averaging 6 rats per 100 traps. This will help give the Kokako population a fighting chance at survival.
"Rats and possums are known predators of native birds, their young and their eggs. These pests cause significant damage to forest ecosystems. It was hard work, but we're really pleased with the results and it wouldn't have been possible without the funding from the CCPF, and the support received and tremendous effort given by our volunteers, DOC and other care groups."
Other projects in the Rotorua District which have received support from the CCPF include management of kokako at the Kaharoa Conservation Area and Hinehopu Wetland Restoration.
DOC is currently assessing expressions of interest for the 2015 round of funding. Successful projects will be announced in August 2015.