Support for Dunedin's predator plan

Confirmation of Government support for a Dunedin predator-free project is welcome but it will take buy-in from local residents for the plan to be a success.

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage yesterday announced the Government would contribute $4.33 million to the $15 million Predator Free Dunedin project.

Dunedin is the first South Island area to be funded and follows similar national support in Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wellington and Waiheke Island.

The project aims in the next five years to eradicate possums from the 9000ha Otago Peninsula and target rat, stoat, possum, ferret and weasel populations in 12,500ha of land surrounding the Orokonui Ecosanctuary between Aramoana, Waitati and Northeast Valley.

Predator Free Dunedin project manager Rhys Millar said seeing kaka, hoiho (yellow-eyed penguins) and South Island robins dispersing throughout the city would be a sign of success.

The project has some lofty aims and has been labelled by those involved ''hugely ambitious''. On the face of it, it seems an almost impossible task. Where and how do you start?

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SOURCE: Otago Daily Times

Rhys Millar