A community-led initiative to rid Whitby of rats, mice, weasels and stoats will launch this Saturday 16 September, with 100 discounted rat traps for sale.
Whitby joins six other Porirua suburbs which have converted nearly 800 residents to trappers over the past 18 months, as part of the Predator Free 2050 vision.
John Lambert, a local resident who works in digital banking, decided to kick off the Whitby trapping group after seeing nearby Titahi Bay launch its community trapping programme in July.
"I'm not an experienced trapper, but I’ve seen how the community has really got behind the other suburbs. It just needed someone to put their hand up to get Whitby going," said John.
Department of Conservation and Porirua City Council support the initiative by supplying the first 100 traps.
John is asking his neighbours to sponsor a backyard trap kit for $20-25, with the proceeds used to purchase more traps.
These traps are safe for pets and kids, and expert trappers from other Pest Free Porirua suburbs will be at the launch to give advice on backyard trapping.
Numbers of pests caught are recorded centrally and residents will be rewarded by seeing less evidence of rats and more birds around their properties.
The city’s first pest-free suburb – Plimmerton – was started by Heather Evans, Linda Kerkmeester and Lee McLauchlan in 2015.
Linda says the seven pest-free suburbs are beginning to link up and provide continuous protection for native species.
"Getting John on board with Whitby is such a win. It’s the city’s largest suburb with around 12,000 residents. Its harbour-edge location makes it strategically important for birds spilling out from Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve."
Other Porirua suburbs, including Pauatahanui, Paramata, Elsdon, Cannons Creek, Waitangirua and Kenepuru are all looking for willing residents to lead trapping groups and complete the city’s predator-free mission.
Pest Free Whitby Launch
When: Saturday 16 September, pop in between 2pm – 4pm
Where: St. Mary’s Anglican Church, Whitby Shopping Centre, Discovery Drive, Whitby