Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


A Mana Cruising Club crew is sailing across Cook Strait from Wellington to help rid a Marlborough Sounds island of rats and keep it rat-free so its native wildlife can thrive.

Date:  17 December 2019

A DOC Community Fund grant of $20,000 is being given to the Mana Cruising Club Friends of Pickersgill Island group for trapping work on Matapara/Pickersgill Island. It will enable the purchase of 55 self-resetting A24 rat traps and supplies for maintaining the traps. The crew from the Porirua-based club will boat to the island in Queen Charlotte Sound twice a year to service the traps.

DOC Sounds Operations Manager Dave Hayes says DOC welcomes the club members' support to make Pickersgill Island rat-free.

"DOC has a network of rat traps on Pickersgill Island but we've identified that more traps are needed to eradicate ship rats. The Friends of Pickersgill Island group's trapping will double the trapping density.

"The group has previously assisted DOC with maintaining DOC traps and monitoring rat densities on the island.

"With rats removed, native wildlife on the island, including birds such as tui, bellbirds, kereru and fantails, can flourish. But rats can easily return to the island by swimming across from Arapaoa Island, just 100 metres away, so the trap network will need to continue to be maintained to catch any rats that get to the island."

Mana Cruising Club secretary Rob Paulin says the club has a long association with the Marlborough Sounds.

"Many Mana Cruising Club members are involved in community-based rodent eradication efforts at home and notice the increased birdlife that follows trapping.

"Pickersgill Island is a popular mooring for Mana Cruising Club members and other cruisers, who believe that increased birdlife adds to the Marlborough Sounds experience.

"The members that volunteer for the trap trips appreciate the no-poison method of rodent control, the opportunity for a bit of exercise and a weekend in the Sounds to give something back.

"Mana Cruising Club values the natural resource that is the Marlborough Sounds and are pleased to be able to assist with this project. It is a project that we learnt a bit about when the first trip was completed and we would like to see it resourced well enough to be successful in the long term."

DOC carried out an operation in 2005 to eradicate rats on Pickersgill Island but rats reinvaded, probably by swimming across from Arapaoa Island.

Visitors to Marlborough Sounds' conservation islands, such as Motuara, Long, Blumine and Pickersgill, are asked to help protect native species living there by not taking dogs onto islands and ensuring pests such as mice, rats and weeds do not get onto islands in their gear or from their boats.

DOC Community Fund grants totalling $8 million have been given to 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand.  The fund is directed at practical on-the-ground projects that maintain and restore the diversity of our native plants and wildlife and encourage people to get involved in conservation and take part in recreation in our natural areas.

See the full list of projects that have received DOC Community Fund grants in the 2019 funding round.


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