Predator Free Russell
A community-led project
Predator Free Pēwhairangi Whānui (Bay of Islands)
Predator Free Bay of Islands is a proposed landscape-scale, community-led predator control and eradication project that will play a key role in a regional vision for a predator free Taitokerau.
It will work alongside existing pest control programmes across the three main peninsulas within the Bay of Islands; Purerua Peninsula (about 7600ha), Russell Peninsula (3000ha) and Cape Brett/Rākaumangamanga (3000ha). This ambitions project will establish sustained predator control, with a pathway to eradication, in the 80,000-plus hectares that make up the wider Bay of Islands.
A 5-year staged approach
The Predator Free Russell Project is a collective of residents, local pest-control contractors, community groups and organisations such as the northland regional council, who are working collaboratively towards completely eradicating introduced predators from the Russell Peninsula. This includes representation from tangata whenua, local government, research institutions and non-profit organisations.
The project will cover the entire Russell Peninsula, with different plans in place for these areas with exceptionally high biodiversity values. These areas are the Old Russell Peninsula (which includes Ōkīato and Te Wahapū), Orongo Bay, Tāpeka, Kororāreka (Russell Township), Tikitikioure, and the Pāroa Bay area.
Why Predator Free Russell?
The Russell Peninsula is a very special place. It’s one of very few areas in New Zealand where wild kiwi and weka live side-by-side with people. Native forest clothes hillsides, wetlands nestle in valleys and salt marsh and mangroves hug the shore. These varied habitats are home to an array of native birds, insects and lizards, some of which are rare species.
Why are rats and possums a problem?
Rats and possums eat leaves, flowers, leaf buds, fruit, eggs, birds, insects and snails which threatens native species as well as their food supply.
How will we keep the rats and possums out?
Eradicating rats and possums from the Russell Peninsula will use a mix of tools. Continued monitoring and response to reinvasion will be important. Land owners and the community will be an important part of the success of the project. The aim is to create a “virtual fence” or buffer zone, from the Eastern Paroa Bay over to the Waikare inlet to prevent reinvasion and incursions.
Will it cost anything?
No, all we need is your permission for project staff to service traps and bait stations to achieve rat and possum eradication.
What methods will be used for eradication?
Multiple methods wil be used to eliminate rats and possums, including traps, bait stations and cameras. The use of different methods allows the programme to be adapted to different habitats over the peninsula.
What information can I expect?
If you’re interested in learning more about the project, you can subscribe to our newsletter or get in touch with someone from our team.