Predator Free Hawke’s Bay is made up of three restoration projects that bring together community and landowner conservation efforts to enhance their native biodiversity.
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Poutiri Ao ō Tāne
Poutiri Ao ō Tāne was established around the mainland island at Boundary Stream and covers the Maungaharuru Range. Launched in 2011 it has pushed the boundaries of wide-scale predator control on farmland. The community and iwi are at the heart of the project.
Poutiri Ao ō Tāne lies within the Maungaharuru Range. Maungaharuru means the mountain that rumbles and roars, the stories go that “Maungaharuru roared every morning and evening as the many birds took flight and returned again to their maunga.”
The project has reintroduced kōrure/mottled petrel and tītī/Cook’s petrel supporting the vision of returning the roar of beating wings which the mountain was named for.
Poutiri Ao ō Tāne has undertaken several predator control trials:
- a large-scale Para-Aminopropiophenone (PAPP) trial to test the cost effectiveness of this toxin across farmland for stoat and wild cat control.
- a ferret lure is being developed as a way to lower the cost of trapping.
- camera monitoring vs detector dogs and found both detected cats at similar rates and the operating costs for both methods were also comparable. Both techniques have advantages and disadvantages which need to be factored in.
- podiTRAPs have been developed.
- assessing the effectiveness of A24s to reduce rat population and reinvasion at Boundary Stream Mainland Island.
Cape to City
Cape to City extends 26,000 hectares from Havelock North to Cape Kidnappers across farmland and forest remnants of mainly primary productive farmland. It was established in 2015 and works closely with community, iwi, landowners, and government to restore native species.
A highlight from the project was the 2015 release of toutouwai (North Island robins) and miromiro (tomtits). Unbanded toutouwai have been seen several times since then indicating they have successfully bred. The next stage of the project will look at motion-sensitive camera monitoring and pioneering exciting new wireless trapping technologies.
Manaaki Whenua are closely involved through various research projects associated with the project. There have been more than 40 research outputs from testing camera traps, the impacts of feral cat control on toxoplasmosis levels in sheep and developing new techniques for seabird translocations.
The Whakatipu Mahia project was launched in 2018 and focuses on removing possums from 14,600 hectares of farmland on Mahia Peninsula. This will be achieved by 2021, using a combination of an intensive bait station network, targeted live capture trapping, and intensive monitoring using motion sensitive cameras and thermal imaging.
Simultaneous control of feral cats and mustelids will be undertaken. The project aims to reduce the costs of farmland predator control by at least 50 percent, enabling redeployment of resources and ultimately a shift in focus from suppression to eradication across rural landscapes.