Waiheke Island's plan to eradicate predators without 1080 drops

Waiheke Island hopes to set a world record for being the first urban island to go predator-free.

The project is set to cost more than $10 million and be completed by 2025 - without 1080 drops.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage says it will be a win-win situation.

"If Waiheke goes predator-free, then birds from Rangitoto and Motutapu… will spill over to Waiheke," she told Newshub.

The island is already possum-free, but officials want to get rid of rats and stoats too.

Ms Sage says this will be a lifesaver for many native birds, including North Island kaka, kakariki, kereru, tui, korimako/bellbird, pīwakawaka/fantail, the New Zealand dotterel and the grey-faced petrel.

And 1080 aerial drops won't be used.

"The reliance is on trapping programmes to target rats and stoats. There will be some poisoning, but not aerial control using 1080."

Te Korowai o Waiheke: Towards Predator-Free Waiheke spokesperson Grant Leach says it's a significant step.

"No one in the world, as far as we're aware, has been able to eradicate predators in a populated island environment that has wetlands, rural land, urban land and industrial land."

It will start eradicating stoats next year. Mr Leach says it will be a team effort.

"We can have all the money on the planet and we just won't get the job done because it involves the community - [who are] absolutely critical to the success of the project."

Most of the funding is coming from Auckland Council, Predator Free 2050 and Foundation North, with contributions also coming from the Department of Conservation, community groups and local landowners.

Mr Leach says there is a lot to tick off.

"We're gonna take stoats first, then we're going to do a pilot on rats, then we'll go for a full-island eradication."

The launch is going ahead on Piritahi Marae on Sunday.

"This will be a gift from our generation to our children and grandchildren," says Mayor Phil Goff.


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