• November 11, 2016 at 7:51 am #2168

    Congratulations to Kelvin Hastie in winning the environment section of the Welly awards. But unfortunately much of the publicity around his great effort in Crofton Downs and beyond uses terminology such as ‘predator free suburb’. For example in the publicity material for the Welly award it says ‘after a one-year trapping campaign, Crofton Downs is predator-free’. But what does that actually mean? I know what it means for Kapiti Island or Mana Island. There are no introduced predators. But it’s problematic using this label for two main reasons. First, as others have already noted there will be other predators still there, notably cats. But just as importantly, just because tracking tunnels come up with a zero result for say rats it doesn’t mean rats are not there (or are not on the way from a neighbouring suburb). On our own patch, Nga Uruora, we have been trapping since 1997. But until there is some dramatic change in technology we can’t claim to be predator free. Even if our tracking tunnels show nothing, other methods such as remote sensing cameras tend to show rats are about. I think we need to develop more realistic language around predator control on the mainland. For example we could say that Crofton Downs has reached a point where ‘rats are undetectable’. It’s not as dramatic as ‘predator free’ but it’s more realistic.

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