A significant milestone in the journey towards achieving Predator Free Rakiura has been welcomed by NZ's Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage, with the signing of a commitment to rid the island of pests.
Rakiura/Stewart Island is the home to one of NZ's ten Great Walks, the 32km/three-dauy Rakiura Track.
“This is an ambitious vision to back nature on Rakiura/Stewart Island. Once achieved Rakiura/Stewart Island would be the largest inhabited predator free island in the world” says Eugenie Sage.
“Rakiura is home to unique endemic plants and wildlife such as the endangered Rakiura tokoeka kiwi, the Stewart Island Robin, and Harlequin gecko which aren’t found anywhere else in the world. This commitment to predator free status is giving them a much needed helping hand.”
Predator Free Rakiura will aim to remove rats, possums, feral cats and hedgehogs from the mainland and islands of Rakiura. The islands are already free of stoats, weasels, ferrets, pigs and goats. The predator free concept has been around for some years. Today’s MOU signing is the culmination of several years of substantive discussion and conversation.
“For years, dedicated people from all walks of life have worked to protect and preserve this special island of Rakiura/Stewart Island. This MOU, with its commitment to develop a strategy to secure a predator free haven for the future, is significant.
“It’s inspiring to see so many organisations and groups committed to working together towards the goal of the being the world’s largest inhabited island where predators have been removed,” says Eugenie Sage.
For more info on NZ's Department of Conservation click here.