An ambitious plan to eradicate pests from Taranaki will get an $11.7 million funding injection from Predator Free 2050 Ltd, Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has announced.
Taranaki Taku Tūranga – a region-wide collaboration between Taranaki Regional Council and rural landowners, aims to eradicate introduced predators from native habitats.
The project starts near New Plymouth and will be progressively rolled out across 4,500 hectares of farmland surrounding the Taranaki/Egmont National Park.
The area will be defended from re-infestation by a 'virtual barrier' created by a network of intensive trapping.
“Government funding of $11.7 million invested via Predator Free 2050 Ltd into Taranaki Taku Tūranga, aims to suppress or eradicate rats, stoats and possums in the area so our native birds and other wildlife can thrive.
“This funding is being matched by local government and other funders at a ratio of more than three to one, with a total project budget of $47 million over five years.”
PF2050 Ltd is a government-owned charitable company established to support co-funding arrangements to help expand and upscale predator control operations. It aims to work towards a predator free New Zealand by 2050.
“New Zealand has a predator crisis – 82 percent of native birds are threatened with, or at risk of extinction. We must invest in a comprehensive programme of predator control initiatives, to save Aotearoa’s indigenous wildlife,” said Eugenie Sage.
In late 2017, PF2050 Ltd issued a request for expressions of interest in collaborative landscape-scale predator control projects. Forty-five groups, representing six percent of New Zealand’s land area, expressed interest.
Seven projects were asked to develop proposals. Taranaki Taku Tūranga is the first to be confirmed for PF2050 Ltd investment.
In addition to the funding being provided by Predator Free 2050 Ltd, Budget 2018 provided an extra $81.3 million in new funding to the Department of Conservation (DOC) for landscape scale predator control as part of an extra $181.6 million in operational funding for DOC over the next four years. That funding allows DOC to plan ahead and target the pests that are devastating the habitats of New Zealand’s unique species.
“New Zealanders love our unique native plants and wildlife and want to see them protected.”
Watch the full interview with Eugenie Sage above.