Predator Free efforts get $100k boost

The new Predator Free Southland co-ordinator Alana Bensemann (left) and Predator Free 2050 Ltd chief executive Abbie Reynolds in Invercargill.

PLANS to scale up Predator Free Southland’s efforts have been bolstered by a $100,000 grant.

Predator Free 2050 Ltd chief executive Abbie Reynolds said the work was to cover a couple of important areas in the region and the funding allowed it to meet the aspirations of the community.

“This is fundamentally about whether we can tolerate extinctions.

“Our birds, our plants need us to be dealing with our predators.”

Rats, stoats and possums were the main culprits and Southland was the 11th region to secure money.

Predator Free Southland co-ordinator Alana Bensemann, a week into the role, said her job was to build on existing relationships with community groups, establish new contacts and begin to draft a five-year action plan.

She took over the role from Ini-Isabee Gunn.

One challenge Ms Bensemann had identified was finding enough people to cover the vast land area involved.

Environment Southland (ES) was one of the entities in the governance group.

Biosecurity team leader Dave Burgess said the financial support allowed ES to continue the co-ordinator role.

Further funding would be required to carry out the action plan, but the amount was still to be determined.

Securing that money was another aspect of the co-ordinator role, he said.

This was in addition to what the governance group entities were contributing.

“We’ll certainly rely on groups that are up and running, and we’ll learn from what they have learnt rather than reinvent the wheel or make mistakes.”

Otatara Landcare Group committee member Dallas Bradley said Otatara Pestbusters appreciated the support it received from ES and Predator Free Southland.

It helped it stay up to date with techniques and traps, as well as linking groups together.bridgemediaAir Jordan Release Dates 2020