DOC and the Ngatiwai Trust Board, who have joined efforts to eradicate kiore (Pacific rats) off Taranga (Hen) Island, advise that ‘Project Restore’ begins this Thursday, 19 May 2011.
“We are taking advantage of the good weather forecast said DOC’s project manager, Keith Hawkins, “which is what’s needed for a safe and effective operation.” An aerial application of cereal bait laced with brodifacoum will be dispersed by helicopter over one day. This will then be repeated in approximately two weeks to complete the operation. A DOC boat will be patrolling the island while the helicopter is operating to make sure boaties are a minimum of 500 metres away for safety requirements.
As a precautionary measure, a rahui (voluntary restriction) on taking kina and crayfish within 50 metres of the Island’s shoreline commences from the bait application. The rahui will remain in place for approximately 4-6 weeks and the public will be kept informed. Rahui signs will be placed at boat ramps to inform the public and on Taranga Island. Landing on Taranga Island, a nature reserve, is by permit only and illegal landing will incur penalties under the Reserves Act.
Taranga Island is the second largest continental shelf island in Northland. It has a particularly diverse range of plants and animals that make it a valuable storehouse for the protection of biological diversity. Eradicating kiore is vital to many rare and endangered species currently only surviving in low numbers and it will allow their natural recovery.