Taranga Island restoration planned for next winter
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionThe Department of Conservation’s Whangarei Area Office in partnership with the Ngatiwai Trust Board have started planning an eradication operation to remove kiore (pacific rats) off Taranga (Hen) Island next winter.
Date: 17 August 2010
The Department of Conservation’s Whangarei Area Office in partnership with the Ngatiwai Trust Board have started planning an eradication operation to remove kiore (pacific rats) off Taranga (Hen) Island next winter.
This operation is to enhance the native species and habitats on the island and is expected to bring fantastic benefits. Similar operations were done on neighbouring Lady Alice, Coppermine and Whatapuke Islands in 1997 and today a huge difference in the abundance of native bird and lizard fauna can be observed between these islands and Taranga Island.
Kiore are the only animal pest on Taranga Island and they eat a wide range of food such as seeds, fruits, insects, lizards, eggs and chicks. This is having significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and if nothing is done, the continued existence of the threatened species on the island is at risk.
The operation is planned for the first period of fine weather between May and October 2011. This timing takes advantage of the reduction in food available for kiore and is when non-target species, such as reptiles are at their most inactive.
The toxin being used is “Pestoff 20R” which contains brodifacoum. This has been successfully used for a large number of island rodent eradication programmes both in New Zealand and overseas, with minimal negative impacts to native non-target threatened species. The bait will be applied by helicopter, as this is the only practical and safe way of achieving eradication due to the steep terrain of the island. Rodent eradication projects require every last individual to be targeted and ground based techniques such as bait stations or traps would be impossible to place on the many steep cliffs.
As part of the resource consent process an ‘Assessment of Environmental Effects’ has been completed. This ensures the operation contains actions that safeguard the public and the environment. A copy can be obtained from the Whangarei Area Office.
Pest free islands play a vital role in providing safe-havens for our threatened native species. This project will complement the ongoing protection work being done to remove weeds and prevent the establishment of other invasive plant and animal species. Both the Ngatiwai Trust Board and Department of Conservation see this project as a major step forward in the conservation of Taranga Island.