Predator Free plans to prevent rats entering Miramar Peninsula
A survey of the rat population in Kilbirnie begins today (Friday 23 November) to gain an understanding of the size of the population that could impact Miramar Peninsula when it becomes predator free.
Greater Wellington Team Leader, Land, Ecology and Climate Dr Philippa Crisp said the survey is an important part of Predator Free Wellington's data gathering stage. Its important we know as much as it can about the rat populations of Wellington and factor this knowledge into our project planning.
"Despite its uniquely defensible location, the Miramar Peninsula's western boundary is vulnerable. The airport, Cobham Drive and Moa Point Road each provide rat runs into the peninsula, gaps which must be plugged if we are to win the war against predators," said Dr Crisp.
To gauge the scale of the rat population in adjacent Kilbirnie chew cards which record the presence of rats, have been placed at 100 metre intervals in a square roughly encompassing Evans Bay Marina - Maranui Surf Club - Onepu Road - Cobham Drive - Evans Bay Marina ahead of the introduction of yet to be developed measures to prevent the migration of rats.
"Before we can design barriers to prevent rats getting on to the peninsula we need to understand the pressure that will be applied by the volume of rats trying to pass through."
The chew cards, which attract and record rats using peanut-butter, will be placed by Greater Wellington staff from 23 November and will remain in place for three days until collection. A team from Greater Wellington will analyse the results, which will be fed into a calculation to determine the deployment of trap and bait stations along the barriers.
The approach is not new to Miramar, having been used last year to establish the size of the rat population on the peninsula. A follow-up survey was undertaken in May this year.
Predator Free Wellington is a partnership between NEXT Foundation, the Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Iwi, and is supported by Predator Free 2050 Ltd. The initial focus is on eradicating rats and stoats from Miramar Peninsula, with a plan to extend the strategy to making the whole of Wellington predator-free over the next ten years.
For more information about the Predator Free Wellington project please visit www.pfw.org.nz.
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