The fight for our native birds is in full force, and it’s bringing our communities together.
Predator Free Bay of Plenty is a community-led, backyard trapping initiative, aiming to bring native wildlife back to our neighbourhoods and help make New Zealand predator free by 2050. It might seem like a lofty goal, but with 25 million native birds killed by introduced predators every year, it’s one that people are quickly rallying around to give our native species a fighting chance.
The programme, launched by Envirohub, Bay Conservation Alliance, NZ Landcare Trust, Department of Conservation, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Tauranga City Council, and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, aims to get a backyard trap into every fifth home in suburban Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty.
Through community workshops, good old-fashioned door knocking, and even a local teen making it onto TV to promote the project, the initiative is gaining traction, with more and more people doing their small bit to make a big difference. So far, over 1400 pests have been killed and 13 communities are now trapping.
At one of the Community Start-up Workshops last month, residents from around the region gathered to learn about backyard trapping, how to get their community involved and to pick up a trap of their own. Jack Miller, the local teen who has made waves around the community with his pest-fighting determination, came along to offer some insight and inspiration.
After seeing a post on Facebook by Predator Free BOP, Jack went along to a presentation and was inspired to tackle the problem.
“Rats are widespread and cause so much damage. I knew that trapping in my own backyard wasn’t enough, so I picked up a bunch of traps and started knocking on my neighbours’ doors to see if they were interested in setting a trap too.”
Envirohub General Manager Laura Wragg says that reaching the goal of a predator free region is all about following Jack’s same ingenuity; engaging communities and maintaining momentum.
“It’s all about connecting with your neighbours, explaining how dire the situation is for our native birds, and showing them how easy it is to do something about it. People are connecting to share their best bait ingredients, how many kills they have logged, and other tips and tricks – it’s great to see.”
TECT General Manager Wayne Werder says TECT is proud to support Envirohub, with a grant of $40,000 awarded this week.
“Envirohub supports a number of environmental initiatives working to make the Bay of Plenty a better place to live for both us and our native wildlife, including Predator Free BOP. It’s great to see communities coming together to help that happen.”
To pick up your own trap, log your kills, and see how well your neighbours’ trapping is going, visit www.predatorfreebop.nz.