If anyone’s keen on helping in a globally noteworthy epic conservation project, try the whole of Stewart Island.
Rakiura/Stewart Island looking northeast across Mason Bay. (Source: Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu)
There’s plenty of pest eradication effort going on there already if you go through the maps and the specific island initiatives, but yesterday it was announced that this time they are going, in the words of Matt Damon, to science the shit out of it.
It’s several million matched dollar for dollar. It’s not the full capital that eradication is going to require. The Auckland Islands for example are going to need millions in capital and has needed private donations to keep that project pushing along.
The Predator Free Aotearoa programme was started under the Key government but it was in 2020 that the Labour government gave it the push with $76m of capital and landscape-scale projects.
There are three main public funding streams including Jobs for Nature, Provincial Growth Fund, and Vote Conservation – with Westland being the testbed for the boldest and biggest of the mainland moves.
They will of course take your money if you give it to them, and then go do good killing things that eat our native animals.
It is the Stewart Island project at 180,000 hectares it would be the largest island-based predator eradication attempt ever made, anywhere beyond the South Georgia rat project.
The stronger, richer forest that will result will absorb far more carbon than pines let alone infested forest.
If anyone ever gets tired of politics on a national level, join up to Forest and Bird and dedicate a week of your holidays to the many efforts on Rakiura. In ten years’ time the birdsong will be as strong as that on Tiritiri (220 hectares), Maungatautiri (3,300 hectares), Auckland’s Ark in the Park (2,300 hectares), Brook in Nelson (690 hectares), or South Westland (100,000 hectares).
It’s one of the most rewarding things you will do in your life.