The momentum is growing and we’re super excited about it! Wellington has just announced its plans to be the world’s first predator-free capital. Go Wellington!
The NEXT Foundation, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Wellington City Council are banding together to lead the initiative, but they won’t be doing it on their own. Success depends on as many Wellingtonians as possible getting behind the project and trapping rats and stoats in backyards citywide. It’s citizen conservation – everyone has a role to play and working together we can make a difference.
Kelvin Hastie’s Crofton Downs community showed what can be done at a surburban level when they became predator free in 2015. Join enough of those suburbs together and you have a predator-free city. Miramar Peninsula – possum-free since 2006 – is first on the project’s list, with Predator Free Wellington now aiming to eliminate rats and stoats on the Peninsula as well. Kelvin Hastie has been engaged as the NEXT Predator Free Community Champion to work with the Predator Free Wellington partners on their mission and will now be supporting other communities as they too become predator free.
It’s exciting to see these mainland aspirations. To achieve a Predator Free NZ by 2050, we’ll need to remove predators from ‘chunks’ of New Zealand one farm, one reserve, one suburb, one town, one city at a time – until those chunks start to overlap and the predator free map grows and grows.
Once the predators are out, research teams like ZIP (Zero Invasive Predators) are working on new and innovative ways to stop them reinvading – effective, efficient border controls so that once an area is cleared of predators it can be protected without a predator-proof fence. Science has a key role to play in developing the techniques we’ll need.
Ultimately, though, it’s a people-power initiative. Councils, philanthropists, conservation organisations and communities are working together to achieve something none of us can achieve on our own. Well done Kelvin Hastie – a community champion who started with a suburb and has now inspired a whole city to get behind PF 2050.
So who are the champions in your community? Who will take up the challenge next? If your community wants to become predator free then check out our Kiwibank Predator Free Communities page for more information.
NEXT Foundation have produced a video introducing Kelvin Hastie and how he got involved in the predator free cause.