Pest Free Banks Peninsula is ramping-up efforts to protect native wildlife and vegetation

Toward pest free

by Ann van Engelen

Public meetings are set for people to learn more about Pest Free Banks Peninsula’s plans to ramp-up efforts to protect native wildlife and vegetation by eradicating possums and other pest animals.

“The control programme is part of a 30-year initiative to protect biodiversity across the 115,000-hectare peninsula, and support sustainable agriculture and tourism. It replaces the previous possum control programme run by us,” says Pest Free Banks Peninsula spokesperson, Dr David Miller.

“Possums are causing havoc to our native vegetation and wildlife. So we are looking to start a new programme with the aim of eradicating possums from south-eastern Banks Peninsula during the next five years. From there, we will progressively work outwards across the peninsula. The project needs the support and involvement of landowners and residents to achieve its long-term vision.

“We understand some landowners would like to see possums controlled across the entire peninsula. It is, however, widely accepted that the previous possum programme was no longer achieving its desired impact.

We need to look at new ways of doing things.

“During the next six months, we will trial new methods of controlling possums to see if we can provide effective and affordable suppression beyond the eradication area to keep possum numbers down.”

Public meetings will be held on Friday, January 24, at 6pm at the Akaroa Sports Pavilion and on Wednesday, January 29, at 6pm at Little River Rugby Club Rooms.

Groups, businesses or individuals wanting to get involved can find further information on the Pest Free Banks Peninsula website.