The fight against introduced predators across New Zealand will receive a significant boost through $2.13 million in Community Conservation Partnerships Fund (CCPF) money announced today by Conservation Minister Maggie Barry.
"Pests like possums, rats and stoats are, without any doubt, the biggest threat to our native wildlife," Ms Barry says.
"Birds such as the kiwi, kakapo and kokako evolved for millions of years in a world without teeth and with no mammals, and have no natural defences against them. Predation has taken some native species to extinction, and we can't let the same thing happen to our remaining natural treasures."
31 community groups from Whangarei to Fiordland will be able to start new pest control projects, expand existing efforts and make plans for the future.
"Community groups are vital to the future of conservation in this country. By supporting and enabling them through the CCPF and technical expertise, DOC has been able to increase the reach of its pest control and help to secure a future for New Zealand's native wildlife," Ms Barry says.
Pests not only threaten the survival of native species, but have also been estimated to cost the economy as much as $3.3 billion a year.
The funded projects range from plans to eradicate possums and other predators from peninsulas and islands to smaller local schemes focused on a few hectares.
"The ambitious goals of these community groups are a testament to the dedication of thousands of New Zealanders who give their time, effort and energy to the protection of our natural heritage."