Wainui group planning to reintroduce bird song

HELPING NATURE: Abigail Salmond has been appointed to the East Coast/Hawke's Bay Conservation Board. Ms Salmond (left), is pictured with Harley Dibble and Erin Power. File picture

A WAINUI community group is leading the way for Gisborne as it plans to rid its neighbourhood of pest predators.

Launched earlier this month, Nga Manu Waiata (The Bird Song Project) Wainui is joining a nationwide movement to eradicate pest animals from local gardens and reserves, as well as contributing to a goal of making New Zealand predator-free by 2050.

Nga Manu Waiata Wainui (NMWW), is making pest predator traps available to the community with the aim of reestablishing bird song and other native flora and fauna.

NMWW’s key focus is on urban or backyard trapping and has an initial aim to get traps in every fifth backyard in the Wainui-Okitu-Makorori area. Group members think this will make a huge difference to native bird numbers.

Group organiser and ecologist Abigail Salmond said community involvement was key.

“The only way we are going to win any fight against predator pests and be able to grow biodiversity in Gisborne is by getting involved and working together.

“The majority of our remaining biodiversity is on private land, so no matter how much work the Department of Conservation (DoC) and Gisborne District Council (GDC) do in public spaces, communities also need to contribute to reducing pest predators,” she said.

Introduced pests such as rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs prey on native birds, as well as their eggs and chicks.

Rats are the most common problem in urban gardens

Rats were the most common problem in urban gardens and were pretty easy to catch, she said.

“It’s difficult to control possums and feral cats in an urban or semi-urban area because they often require trapping methods which may be unsafe with kids and pet cats around. We are focusing on the biggest threat to birds in our areas which is rats and hopefully the odd stoat and hedgehog.”

NMWW organiser Harley Dibble said the group began planning in August 2017 and set up a Facebook page to gauge interest which quickly generated 106 likes.

“We were aware of the problems pests create in regards to native species and wanted to provide the community with an opportunity to participate in a worthwhile environmental project.

“Initially it’s about drawing attention to why these pests are so problematic and how we can make a difference to the biodiversity in our own backyards with something as simple as an effective trapping device.

The official launch was attended by around 20 community members and included speakers from the Department of Conservation, Gisborne District Council and the Women’s Native Tree ProjectTrust.

GDC’s environmental and science manager Lois Easton is excited at the group’s formation as it is the first predator-free initiative in the Gisborne district.

“This is exactly the kind of project the council is really keen to support.

“As well as being a great community building initiative, it supports a lot of the other work that the council is doing in the wider area — the restoration work at Makorori Headland and Titirangi (Kaiti Hill), and the weed management work underway in the Wainui-Okitu Reserves.

Traps provided to group members to date have been sourced from Predator Free NZ Trust and purchased through a small grant from DoC and funds pooled together from NMWW organisers.

The group is planning workshops on how to build traps

As well as the provision of traps and guidance around how to safely use and maintain them, the group is planning workshops on how to build traps. Local business owners have become involved to provide materials and Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) have also signed up to help build trap boxes.

Mrs Salmond said the purpose of NMWW was not just killing small animals.

“Our group is about responding to the reality that for every predator pest you trap, you’re saving 10 birds as a result.

“This is a community partnership intent on growing biodiversity and creating habitats in our backyards for native birds and other species to flourish.

“Let’s bring more native birds back to the gardens and reserves of Wainui, Okitu, Makorori and eventually Tairawhiti,” she said.

NMWW has further events planned and can be contacted via their Facebook page.

A WAINUI community group is leading the way for Gisborne as it plans to rid its neighbourhood of pest predators.

Launched earlier this month, Nga Manu Waiata (The Bird Song Project) Wainui is joining a nationwide movement to eradicate pest animals from local gardens and reserves, as well as contributing to a goal of making New Zealand predator-free by 2050.

Nga Manu Waiata Wainui (NMWW), is making pest predator traps available to the community with the aim of reestablishing bird song and other native flora and fauna.

NMWW’s key focus is on urban or backyard trapping and has an initial aim to get traps in every fifth backyard in the Wainui-Okitu-Makorori area. Group members think this will make a huge difference to native bird numbers.

Group organiser and ecologist Abigail Salmond said community involvement was key.

“The only way we are going to win any fight against predator pests and be able to grow biodiversity in Gisborne is by getting involved and working together.

“The majority of our remaining biodiversity is on private land, so no matter how much work the Department of Conservation (DoC) and Gisborne District Council (GDC) do in public spaces, communities also need to contribute to reducing pest predators,” she said.

Introduced pests such as rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs prey on native birds, as well as their eggs and chicks.

Rats are the most common problem in urban gardens

Rats were the most common problem in urban gardens and were pretty easy to catch, she said.

“It’s difficult to control possums and feral cats in an urban or semi-urban area because they often require trapping methods which may be unsafe with kids and pet cats around. We are focusing on the biggest threat to birds in our areas which is rats and hopefully the odd stoat and hedgehog.”

NMWW organiser Harley Dibble said the group began planning in August 2017 and set up a Facebook page to gauge interest which quickly generated 106 likes.

“We were aware of the problems pests create in regards to native species and wanted to provide the community with an opportunity to participate in a worthwhile environmental project.

“Initially it’s about drawing attention to why these pests are so problematic and how we can make a difference to the biodiversity in our own backyards with something as simple as an effective trapping device.

The official launch was attended by around 20 community members and included speakers from the Department of Conservation, Gisborne District Council and the Women’s Native Tree ProjectTrust.

GDC’s environmental and science manager Lois Easton is excited at the group’s formation as it is the first predator-free initiative in the Gisborne district.

“This is exactly the kind of project the council is really keen to support.

“As well as being a great community building initiative, it supports a lot of the other work that the council is doing in the wider area — the restoration work at Makorori Headland and Titirangi (Kaiti Hill), and the weed management work underway in the Wainui-Okitu Reserves.

Traps provided to group members to date have been sourced from Predator Free NZ Trust and purchased through a small grant from DoC and funds pooled together from NMWW organisers.

The group is planning workshops on how to build traps

As well as the provision of traps and guidance around how to safely use and maintain them, the group is planning workshops on how to build traps. Local business owners have become involved to provide materials and Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) have also signed up to help build trap boxes.

Mrs Salmond said the purpose of NMWW was not just killing small animals.

“Our group is about responding to the reality that for every predator pest you trap, you’re saving 10 birds as a result.

“This is a community partnership intent on growing biodiversity and creating habitats in our backyards for native birds and other species to flourish.

“Let’s bring more native birds back to the gardens and reserves of Wainui, Okitu, Makorori and eventually Tairawhiti,” she said.

NMWW has further events planned and can be contacted via their Facebook page.

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