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Friday, 22 March 2019 08:22 pm

Pest Free Capital – Wellington well on the way to beating rodents

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Image Credit: Margot Neas

If achieving Pest Free Wellington is like eating an elephant on forkful at a time, Wellington is a partially eaten elephant.

Twelve different Wellington suburbs, 1200 traps and around 3000 people in the capital are already involved in pest control around the capital.

The mobilisation of Wellingtonians killing the small and furry in their own backyards and green spaces across the city has resulted in around 2000 dead rats, mice and stoats this year.

The Pest Free Wellington project to clear the Capital of rats, mice, stoats and possums by 2050 was announced by the Wellington City Council, Next Foundation and Greater Wellington Council in September.

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Wellingtonians picking up free rat traps during conservation week

The elephant analogy was used by environment partnerships leader for the Wellington City Council Tim Park, who is confident the project is do-able.

But surely getting a whole city behind trapping pests is a huge ask?

Perhaps not says Tim Park.

“People simply hate rats. We are hard wired dislike them, but getting rid of pests isn’t only about what’s good for the environment.

“We have seen it in places like Crofton Downs, Mt Victoria and Aro Valley that a real sense of community springs up around these projects and people get to know their neighbours,” he says.

There will also be positive economic outcomes from an increased tourism, and perhaps even decreased insurance premiums if there are no rats to chew on household wires, he said.

Either way, seeing Kaka flinging themselves around the skies of Wellington, and Saddleback in Aro Valley, is a good thing said local conservationist Paul Stanley Ward at a talk during Conservation Week.

“When I grew up in Wellington you would see tui and pigeon, but now my young daughter can see a bird which was extinct on the North Island just at the end of our street. Now that’s very cool.” he said.

The Predator Free Wellington project is in the planning stage. By next winter there will be a clearer picture of the physical boundaries of the project area says Tim Park.

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