Date: 03 December 2013
The Department of Conservation’s Thorndon Office hosted an island biosecurity hui on Wednesday 27 November.
Matiu-Somes, Kapiti, and Mana Island are mammalian pest-free islands. These islands are refuges for many endangered native plants and animals, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Additionally, the predator-free islands provide breeding grounds for marine mammals and birds.
Local iwi, DOC rangers, island concessionaires, relevant community groups, other island associates and media gathered on Matiu-Somes Island to review the importance of island biosecurity and discuss opportunities for strengthening procedures. Some of the topics covered at the meeting included: following appropriate quarantine procedures and providing adequate quarantine facilities, monitoring and trapping pest animals, implementing island management plans, and highlighting the importance of visitor participation (e.g. baggage and shoe checks, disposing of seeds from pest plants).
“The hui was an opportune time for various parties to come together, in particular for the iwi who will be playing a prominent role in the on-going management relating to biosecurity, specifically Matiu-Somes Island,” said Mark Te One, Chair of the Kaitiaki Board. “It provided a platform for an overview and discussion of the issues we face.”
“The hui was not only a great opportunity to hear biosecurity ideas and improve our practices, but also to share those ideas with our partners that help us care for these incredible islands,” said Kapiti Island Services Ranger Gen Spargo. “The reality is there will always be biosecurity risks to our islands. The turnout for this hui is heartening and reflects a strong commitment to doing that, giving the islands a fighting chance.”
Pest plants and animals can have detrimental effects on native biodiversity. Some of the common pests found in New Zealand include: the Norway rat, ship rat, house mouse, stoats, possums, and exotic plants. All of these pests pose a threat to our native species. For example, rodents (rats and mice) not only prey on native wildlife but also compete with them for food.
The Department of Conservation puts considerable effort into removing and controlling pests and carrying out appropriate quarantine measures on islands. However, DOC heavily relies on the public to follow biosecurity procedures to help keep islands free of new pests.