Our vision for Predator Free Port Hills is to protect native species and to see their populations flourish in our lifetimes. Ultimately we want the Port Hills to become predator free with thriving native wildlife in our neighbourhoods, local parks and reserves, farmland and bush areas.
This will also mean no rats scavenging from compost bins, more birds nesting, no more pesky possums eating garden plants, fruit trees and native bush, and more birdsong from a wider variety of birds. Predator Free Port Hills will cover the Port Hills and the urban fringe bounding Banks Peninsula so that our pest control efforts will act as a buffer zone to Pest Free Banks Peninsula.
Photo: View of the Port Hills and Lyttelton Harbour from Mt Herbert (Gina Waibl)
Predator Free Port Hills is a backyard trapping initiative in the urban fringe surrounding the Port Hills and Lyttelton Harbour. It is an initiative launched by the Summit Road Society to assist residents and local groups to achieve what we hope will be a community-led, long-term project to improve the biodiversity of the Port Hills, to make them safe for our unique native species and to encourage the continued regeneration of our native plants.
To achieve this, the Summit Road Society provides subsidised traps to Port Hills residents and organises workshops and public events on backyard trapping. Backyard trapping is still very new in New Zealand and many people have never dealt with anything bigger than a mouse trap. We want to make trapping easier, more affordable and more accessible for the everyday household.
Each suburb is supported by a local volunteer coordinator or team of co-ordinators. To join, please sign up. Your coordinator can provide you with traps, show you how to use them, how to monitor and record your catches, and give any other advice you may need.
One of the strengths of Predator Free Port Hills is local communities and connections - neighbours talking to neighbours.
It is our hope that eventually all of Christchurch will join the Predator Free movement. If you are outside the Port Hills and keen to start trapping or to set up a backyard trapping programme, please visit our Backyard Trapping page for tips.
Photo: Possum eating a egg (Nga Manu Images)
New Zealand has the highest rate of threatened species in the world. Around 81% of our birds, 88% of our reptiles and 72% of our freshwater fish are endangered. Most of our native species are not found anywhere else in the world. Rats, stoats and possums kill millions every year. They are hammering our native species, but it doesn?t have to be that way.
Removing predators from the environment, or at least limiting their numbers, can have a large positive effect on native wildlife - birds and lizards can prosper. Scientists and conservation experts agree that the eradication of small mammal pests, namely rodents, mustelids, and possums, is the single most important challenge for conservation in New Zealand.
Environment Canterbury have identified the following pests as being of importance for biodiversity protection:
Some of the native fauna and flora found on Banks Peninsula; clockwise from top left Spotted Skink (Scotty B More, Nature Watch), Yellow Eyed Penguin (Bernard Spragg, Wikimedia Commons), Tui (Kahuroa, Wikimedia Commons), Jewelled Gecko (Mike68Lusk, Nature Watch), South Island Rifleman (Jane Gosden, Nature Watch), South Island Tomtit (Nga Manu Images), Morepork/Ruru (Peter Halasz, Wikimedia Commons), Kereru/Wood Pigeon (Mark Parker, Nature Watch), Canterbury Tree Weta, centre image Fantail/Piwakawaka (Bernard Spragg, Wikimedia Commons)
Possums mostly eat plants, including your veggie garden and fruit trees, but they will also eat birds, chicks and eggs, as well as insects. They can decimate trees and compete directly with native birds for food and resources.
Rats eat fruit, lizards, seeds, leaves, insects, eggs and chicks. They have a big impact on flightless beetles, weta, land snails, frogs, skinks, geckos, tuatara and bats. Rats eat almost anything, which makes them a direct threat and in direct competition with native wildlife. They also pose a risk to human health.
Stoats, ferrets and weasels eat birds, insects, lizards, and eggs, as well as rabbits, possums, rodents and hedgehogs. Stoats have caused the extinction of several New Zealand bird species and are the major cause of decline for many other species.
Placing a trap or traps in your garden or property helps us to build a network of traps across the Port Hills. As we get closer to our goal of 1 in 5 households, predators are very likely to encounter a trap. Together we can make a difference.
Mustelids found in New Zealand, clockwise from top left: Stoat (James Lindsey, Wikimedia Commons), ferret eating a rabbit (Nga Manu Images), stoat killing a rabbit (Mariomassone, Wikimedia Commons), weasel and a bird it has eaten (Nga Manu Images).
A huge thank you to our sponsors who have given grants, donations or other services to the Predator Free Port Hills project. This funding is used to coordinate the project, subsidise traps for households, run events and workshops on trapping, and monitor our results. Our past and current sponsors include the Rātā Foundation, CCC Spreydon-Cashmere Community Board, Environment Canterbury, Halswell New World and National Storage.
Thank you! A big shout to all the private donors, big and small, who support our project too.
If you would like to donate to Predator Free Port Hills, please visit our donations page.
Every bit helps. For more information about the Summit Road Society or to become a member, please visit our website.
We send out regular email updates and publish an e-newsletter 3 times a year.
When you sign up your household to Predator Free Port Hills, you will be automatically added to our mailing list.
If you are not a household on the Port Hills, please add your email address below to subscribe to our newsetter.
Past newsletters can be accessed here.
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