Residents back predator project

Bluff Hill Motupohue Environment Trust volunteers (from left) David Swann, Debbie Fife, Estelle Leask and Nikki Ladd with some of the traps to be used in Bluff gardens. PHOTO: LAURA SMITH

AN initiative to get Bluff residents catching predator species in their backyards has had a great response, the co-ordinator behind it says.

Run by the Bluff Hill Motupohue Environment Trust, the Protect the Bluff Backyard Trapping Programme is helping to eradicate pests such as rats and mustelids.

Co-ordinator Debbie Fife said everyone she spoke to knew about the initiative and of the 100 traps made so far, 83 had been allocated.

With about 800 households in Bluff, the trust aimed to have 400 traps in backyards.

In 2017, the trust, in conjunction with Awarua Runanga, Invercargill City Council (ICC), Environment Southland (ES), the Department of Conservation (Doc), the Bluff Community Board and South Port, formed the Predator Free Bluff working group to access the feasibility of Predator Free Bluff.

This was the first stage of the project and it was hoped to bring more birdsong back to the area, support biodiversity, and as Bluff was the gateway to Rakiura/Stewart Island and the Titi Islands, it would mean protection for them too.

Trust chairwoman Estelle Leask said it was an opportunity to support the area in which it had done so much work removing predators in the past 12 years.

“It’s protecting what we’ve created… it gives us a sense of pride.”

Starting this week, people were able to pick up the pet and child-friendly traps from the Bluff Service Centre was a suggested donation of $20, with a lower suggestion for those on a limited income.

An added bonus for those trapping was data of catches could be collected and seen via Trap NZ.

Ms Fife said the group acknowledged its partners Te Runaka O Awarua, ICC, Doc and ES along with funding partners Blacks Fasteners and Urwins, as well as sponsors Ka Mate Nga Kiore Incorporated, Barnes Wild Bluff Oysters, Southern Generation, Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, South Port and Osborn Engineering.

  • For more information, go to the trust website, or “Protect The Bluff Backyard Trapping Program” on Facebook.

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