KERERU

NEWSLETTER

CHRISTMAS 2006

 

POHUTUKAWA TRUST NEW ZEALAND

KAWAU ISLAND

To rehabilitate the native flora and fauna

of Kawau Island

To promote the conservation of indigenous species

in New Zealand

To achieve sustainable land use on Kawau Island

REGISTERED OFFICE: 24 Umere Crescent Auckland 1051

   WWW.pohutukawatrust.org.nn


 

T

his edition of Kereru brings Christmas greetings to all from the Board of Trustees and the Trust's Patrons Ngaire Schumacher and Pat Spanhake. Best wishes and a million new native seedlings for 2007.

A background synopsis distributed at the meeting of supporting landowners held at the Sandspit Yacht Club on Saturday 14 October 2006 is included as part of this edition as a permanent record. Everybody who attended at Sandspit recognised that a lot of progress will be made toward the Trust's restoration project by stepping up the possum and wallaby eradication effort this summer. Suggestions were made to assist a nucleus of members functioning as an Operations Committee to pool their experience and make it happen. A healthy financial position was reported and support received from the ARC as provided for under the Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy was acknowledged.

 

ACTION POINTS

FOR THE 2006-2007 SUMMER

 

● Ensure that all presently installed bait stations are operated effectively and regularly serviced at the recommended frequency, and that records are made using a simple "tick-the-box" bait station form. Continue to use bait carefully in bait stations only.

● Assist with the formation of more teams, to take responsibility for an area so that bait stations are kept working when any person is not available.

● Identify areas where bait stations are needed and help landowners establish them and the teams to service them.

● Encourage financial contributions to fund sustained and fast progress toward possum and wallaby eradication.

● Meet at the end of this summer to review the progress made.

                

 

 

The two photographs above show spring growth of white rata both on the ground and climbing trees in a recovering forest fragment. The rata flourishes because possum and wallaby are now almost absent in this area.  

 

  

Recovering forest  or  Possum and wallaby food?

A useful seed bank still exists over much of Kawau Island. An estimated 1,040,000 native seedlings will grow this season. How many of these survive destruction depends entirely on the efforts of Pohutukawa Trust supporters. We have the know-how and ability to make great progress and need your continued help and support.

Go Fast Forward with restoration this summer.    

Sandspit meeting continued

The Sandspit meeting was chaired by Michael Marris and continued the Trust's practise of making decisions by consensus. The need to maximise progress this summer clearly emerged as the goal. Suggestions were made to achieve this, mainly by identifying areas deficient in bait stations, and ensuring effective operation of installed bait stations. Several suggestions were made relating to employing people, but keeping in mind that the scope to do this is limited by our finite financial resources.  

Comments were made by the Trustees. Ken McCormack, a Trustee since the Trust was founded in 1992 said he considered his long association with the Trust to be a privilege and believed that the Trustees past and present in their different ways had provided the vital stability and continuity in the work of the Trust. Helen Smith, also a founding Trustee, reminded us that the work and aspirations of the Trust went beyond the immediate objective of wallaby eradication. The restoration of native flora and fauna was the ultimate objective. Lesley Stephenson said that she had been honoured to be asked to be a Trustee two years ago. She had been impressed

by the enormous amount of work in the research, raising awareness and developing of procedures

that it had taken to develop a viable eradication programme. Ray Weaver endorsed the comments of the other Trustees and said that at least 60% of the goal will be achieved by eradication of wallabies, and that this milestone, although still challenging, was now within our reach. 

David Kingston, who has prepared statements of the Trust's financial position in recent years reported that as at 31 March 2006 the funds were $86,558.00. This is seen as a great effort, and is about half the estimated budget to eradicate wallabies from the private land by current methods. Donations continue to be received from supporters and these will enable the needed progress to be made this summer.

The meeting heard that in addition to removal of possums using traps and bait stations, firearms and bait stations had removed over 7000 wallabies since operations resumed in May 2005. A huge increase in wallaby numbers had occurred during the repatriation suspension period. During this time wallaby numbers must have roughly doubled, because in early 2002 the estimated number remaining on Kawau Island was 8,500.

Survey 2006-2007

Past surveys and questionnaires have provided the essential planning and operational information needed on native plants, forest fragments, native fauna, weeds, and animal pests, as well as a clear direction in 2005 to resume operations following the suspension for Tammar repatriation.

A survey sheet is again provided, and a prepaid envelope for return when completed. Any information relating to the restoration project and local observations will be useful. From now on it will be important to keep up to date with the distribution of wallabies on the island, and observations of either presence or absence will be valuable. These observations can be emailed at any time to erweave@xtra.co.nz and are always needed. To help with our planning please keep an eye out for animals. Please include approximate location and time of day in your reported observation. Information on significant areas of fresh droppings is also important. 

Note All completed survey sheets received by 31 January 2007 will go in a draw for a donated copy of the book Pohutukawa and Rata, New Zealand's Iron Hearted Trees, by Author Philip Simpson, The book was Environment Section Winner, Montana New Zealand Book Awards 2006. Work of the Pohutukawa Trust is included in the book.

DECAL™ Possum Bait

Pestoff DECAL™ Possum Bait has already become a hit for possum control. The new bait  enhances the effect of brodifacoum, and will further reduce our already low bait use.

The genesis for the new bait originated on Kawau and some great reports are now coming in to the manufacturers Animal Control Products Ltd, from pest control operators throughout New Zealand, including contractors working in forest areas and owners of kiwifruit orchards striving to keep possums under control.

Huge kills are reported where a pre-feed of Pestoff Brodifacoum Possum Bait is followed by an application of DECAL™. That's what we were all anticipating and hoping for!

DECAL™ was first released in July 2006. While it is early days, this already looks like a significant new development for possum control in New Zealand. No licence is required by persons using DECAL™ or Pestoff brodifacoum.

The Trust has always advocated using the minimum amount of any bait and requires that all baits be used carefully and in bait stations or bait bags only. Careful use of any toxin is always promoted to avoid harming the environment or threatening the weka and kiwi population on Kawau. Compared with other options DECAL™ has a low toxicity to avian species. Another plus!

For an interesting read go to Animal Control Products Industry Update, Summer 2006.  

Click on www.pestoff.co.nz/pdf/Summer06.pdf

It is well worth a look!

Bait stations and bait consumption.

Bait consumption on Kawau has levelled off and will now take a downward trend overall, even with the additional bait stations needed to improve coverage. On a land area basis Kawau usage is very low compared with some other places.

Rodent bait supply.

The first generation anticoagulant bait RACUMIN™ is available for rodent control in and around dwellings. As with all baits RACUMIN™ must be placed out of reach of pets and weka to avoid risk of poisoning by animals ingesting the bait. The advantage of this bait is that it has a low risk of secondary poisoning of animals such as weka which may scavenge dead rats. The bait is available in packs of 40 sachets at $5.00 per pack, and jars of 225 sachets at $25.00 per jar. The $5.00 packs are sufficient to treat a dwelling, and the $25.00 jars are sufficient to treat a neighbourhood of several dwellings and outbuildings. Supplies are available for collection by arrangement from Nick Randall on Kawau or Ray Weaver in Auckland. Full instructions are included with each pack.

To minimise bait usage and maximise results the optimum time to establish initial control of rodents is during late winter. With this done, effective maintenance of control is not difficult. At other times, rodent numbers will be higher and more bait will be needed to gain the initial control.       

Review of the Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy

The ARPMS is reviewed every 5 years as required by the Biosecurity Act 1993.

The Proposed Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy 2007 - 2012 was publicly notified on 8 November 2006. The Auckland Regional Council is now seeking public feedback on the Proposed RPMS through a formal submission and hearing process. Submissions close at 5 pm on Friday 9 February 2007. The Proposed ARPMS is a draft framework for plant and animal pest management in the Auckland region for the period July 2007 to June 2012.

Of vital importance to the Trust is the inclusion of wallabies as a declared animal pest in the Auckland region. Wallabies were not included in the first ARPMS draft and this was remedied largely through the work of the Trust to have wallabies included.

In the present ARPMS 2002 - 2007 the status was upgraded to eradication, but the timeframe was frozen due to suspension for repatriation of Tammar wallabies, publicly advised in April 2002 and finally completed in May 2004. The current operations were then resumed in May 2005 following strong representations to the Board of Trustees by supporters. 

The present ARPMS includes the following concise statement, prepared from the Trust's work and vision. It is a message for all New Zealand:

Although wallabies prefer pasture and are selective in the species they feed upon when they have a choice, experience on Kawau Island has found that most native species are palatable when food is limited, and they will destroy almost all emerging native seedlings. Wallabies in New Zealand, therefore, have the potential to prevent regeneration, and significantly reduce the diversity of natural areas, and cause serious economic damage to pastoral, horticultural and forestry activities.

The Trust has a clear mandate from supporters to progress wallaby eradication on Kawau Island as quickly as possible, and will be making a submission to the proposed ARPMS supporting the continued inclusion of wallabies as a declared animal pest, and eradication of them from Kawau Island accordingly. The Trust will also be encouraging supporters to make individual submissions.

Recovery is very fragile at the moment but with your continued support the Trust's vision to restore the native flora and fauna of Kawau Island will soon become a reality.              © 2006