As the summer holiday season begins, the Department of Conservation (DOC) is encouraging people to 'stop and check before you go' to help protect our precious offshore islands.
Rangatira lookout, Kapiti Island
Offshore islands such as Matiu/Somes, Mana and Kapiti Islands are treasured wildlife sanctuaries that are vulnerable to attack from unwanted pest plants and animals, as seen recently with a rat detected on Mana Island.
As part of the department’s rigorous biosecurity programme, thorough inspection of boats and kayaks, clothes and footwear, bags and other equipment is a must to prevent pests reaching our offshore wildlife sanctuaries.
“It’s easy to accidentally pick up a pest and unknowingly introduce it onto one of our precious islands” says DOC Kapiti Wellington threats Programme Manager Colin Giddy.
Rats can squeeze through a 12mm gap and mice, through a 7mm gap. But it is not just pests of the furry nature that DOC is concerned about.
“Ants are also a major concern as they are small and easily missed. They can wreak major havoc on whole ecosystems,” says Mr Giddy. “Weeds, seeds and soil can cling to clothing, footwear and other outdoor gear and are especially overlooked in all the nooks and crannies of our bags and outdoor gear.”
New fliers and posters will be on display this summer to raise awareness about the vulnerability of our offshore islands and to encourage us to 'stop and check before we go'.