View of the Port Hills and Lyttelton Harbour from Mt Herbert (Gina Waibl)
What It’s All About
The Summit Road Society has launched a ‘Predator Free Port Hills’ initiative.
Our vision is to protect native species and to see their populations flourish in our lifetimes. Ultimately, we want the Port Hills to become predator free with thriving native wildlife in our neighbourhoods, local parks and reserves, farmland and bush areas.
Predator Free Port Hills will cover the Port Hills and the urban fringe bounding Banks Peninsula so that our pest control efforts will act as a buffer zone to a predator free Banks Peninsula.
To achieve our vision, we want to:
- Have a trap in one of every five households within five years.
- Target possums, ferrets, stoats, weasels and rats. These are some of our major predators and are easily caught in a small backyard trap.
- Focus on the urban fringe of the Port Hills, from Taylors Mistake to Halswell, and the harbour from Lyttelton to Purau, as well as rural areas between Halswell and Motukarara.
- Collaborate with other local groups and landowners that have similar goals, such as the Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust, the Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust, Environment Canterbury and Christchurch City Council.
Banks Peninsula with Predator Free Port Hills area shaded blue providing a buffer zone to a Predator Free Banks Peninsula (Google Maps)
By joining Predator Free Port Hills you will be part of a growing number of communities around New Zealand that are getting on board with the government’s Predator Free 2050 initiative. Communities can achieve a lot when they work together, and many communities have already made progress that was once unimaginable.
What We’re Doing
Predator Free Port Hills is a backyard trapping initiative in the urban fringe surrounding the Port Hills and Lyttelton harbour. It is an initiative launched by the Summit Road Society to assist residents and local groups to achieve what we hope will be a community-led, long-term project to improve the biodiversity of the Port Hills, to make them safe for our unique native species and to encourage the continued regeneration of our native plants.
The Summit Road Society can supply traps on long term loan, and can also source discounted traps if you would like to purchase one (or more).
Each suburb is supported by a Local Co-ordinator from your community, who can provide you with traps, show you how to use them, how to monitor and record your catches, and give any other advice you may need. If your suburb doesn’t yet have a Local Co-ordinator, please get in touch and we’ll see if we can get your area up and running as a predator free community.
Locals have the potential to achieve more than anyone else can in your area.
Why Should I Take Part?
New Zealand has the highest rate of threatened species in the world. Around 81% of our birds, 88% of our reptiles and 72% of our freshwater fish are endangered. Most of our native species are not found anywhere else in the world. Rats, stoats and possums kill millions every year. They are hammering our native species, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Some of the native fauna and flora found on Banks Peninsula; clockwise from top left Spotted Skink (Scotty B More, Nature Watch), Yellow Eyed Penguin (Bernard Spragg, Wikimedia Commons), Tui (Kahuroa, Wikimedia Commons), Jewelled Gecko (Mike68Lusk, Nature Watch), South Island Rifleman (Jane Gosden, Nature Watch), South Island Tomtit (Nga Manu Images), Moreport/Ruru (Peter Halasz, Wikimedia Commons), Kereru/Wood Pigeon (Mark Parker, Nature Watch), Canterbury Tree Weta, centre image Fantail/Piwakawaka (Bernard Spragg, Wikimedia Commons).
Removing predators from the environment, or at least limiting their numbers, can have a large positive effect on native wildlife – birds and lizards can prosper. Scientists and conservation experts agree that the eradication of small mammal pests, namely rodents, mustelids, and possums, is the single most important challenge for conservation in New Zealand.
Environment Canterbury have identified the following pests as being of importance for biodiversity protection:
- Mustelids (Ferrets, Stoats, Weasels)
- Ship and Norway rats
- Feral cats
- German and European Wasps
- Argentine Ants
- Magpies and Rooks
- Feral deer, goats, and pigs
Possums mostly eat plants, including your veggie garden and fruit trees, but they will also eat birds, chicks and eggs, as well as insects. They can decimate trees and compete directly with native birds for food and resources.
Possum and rat eating chicks (Nga Manu Images).
Rats eat fruit, lizards, seeds, leaves, insects, eggs and chicks. They have a big impact on flightless beetles, weta, land snails, frogs, skinks, geckos, tuatara and bats. Rats eat almost anything, which makes them a direct threat and in direct competition with native wildlife. They also pose a risk to human health.
Possum eating a bird’s egg (Nga Manu Images).
Stoats, ferrets and weasels eat birds, insects, lizards, and eggs, as well as rabbits, possums, rodents and hedgehogs. Stoats have caused the extinction of several New Zealand bird species and are the major cause of decline for many other species.
Mustelids found in New Zealand, clockwise from top left: Stoat (James Lindsey, Wikimedia Commons), ferret eating a rabbit (Nga Manu Images), stoat killing a rabbit (Mariomassone, Wikimedia Commons), weasel and a bird it has eaten (Nga Manu Images).