The operation undertaken in June 2009 to eradicate rodents from the islands of Ipipiri (eastern Bay of Islands) is starting to show some signs of success a few months afterward.
DOC Project Manager, Adrian Walker says, “It is likely rats and stoats have been eradicated from the islands and if mice were present there is a good chance they have been removed as well.”
“We are now starting to see a carpet of Coprosma seedlings emerging previously mown off by the rats – this is an indication of the way the bush will spring back to life again. With this should come the insects which are the building blocks for supporting more wildlife on the islands.”
“Kiwi probe holes and tracks can be seen in large numbers on Roberton and Moturua, and any kiwi chicks born this spring will now survive without stoats present. Ornithological Society of NZ members are monitoring dotterels that are nesting on Urupukapuka and Motuarohia and an increase fledged chick numbers is likely.”
Te Rawhiti Enterprises Ltd contractors have conducted seven rounds of tracking tunnel and trap checks for mammals. Bob Willoughby CEO reports; “the boys have found only ant, weta and bird tracks. Mynahs with a taste for peanut butter are also entering tunnels and leaving their tracks too. It is great that Project Island Song is now producing jobs for the people of Nagti Kuta and Patukeha in the eastern Bay of Islands.”
Fleur Corbett, Chair of the Guardians of the Bay of Islands says, “We are looking forward to observing the increase in life on the islands without rodents. The big challenge is keeping the islands pest free as we prepare for new wildlife on the islands. Our new volunteer activities on the islands include a practical conservation team and a visitor centre at Otehei Bay, and it would be great to get more people to help with the project,” she said.
A mainland pest control project at Rawhiti to stop pests swimming to the islands is also in place. “A Community Pest Control Area supported by NRC and has been extended to cover the land and peninsulas from Rawhiti through to Orokawa. We are grateful to all private and Maori landowners and the NZ Kiwi Foundation for their support,” says John Booth from the Eastern Bay of Islands Preservation Society who is also involved in the project.
Project success depends on the community helping to keep pests such as mice, rats and stoats from reinvading the islands. “We can’t do it without the public’s help,” says Helen Ough Dealy DOC’s Community Relations Ranger for Project Island Song,
Please stop and take 5 minutes before you go:
- check your boats, dinghies and kayaks for stowaway pests
- take food in sealed chilly bins
- sandy beaches are a good place to look for pest footprints
- if you see pests on board or on the islands call 0800 DOC HOT (0800 362 268)
“With everybody doing the right thing Ipipiri will really sing again and give fantastic opportunities to the community. What has been great is the way that island land owners and local tour operators have supported us,” says Helen. “They can see real value for future business in Project Island Song.”
For more information or volunteering contact:
Helen Ough Dealy
Biosecurity Advocacy Ranger – Project Island Song
Phone +64 9 403 9006
Guardians of the Bay of Islands
Ph +64 9 403 8453