Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has today installed the first of 1,200 new stoat traps in Rimutaka Forest Park east of Wellington.

“Volunteer groups will check the traps and manage the new predator control scheme, which more than doubles the current safe-zone for kiwi to 7,000 ha,” Ms Barry says.

“This is Predator Free 2050 in action. Joining forces with the community enables us to achieve big wins together, such as reversing kiwi decline in the wild.”

“Rimutaka Forest Park Trust and MOA Conservation Trust members already check 90 kilometres of trap lines in the rugged hill country. We are thrilled to be growing the trap network – and the protection for kiwi.”

The extended area crosses the popular Catchpool and Orongorongo valleys which welcome more than 30,000 visitors a year.

“Stoats are now considered ‘public enemy number one’ for New Zealand birds. Killing of young kiwi, mainly by stoats, is the most significant factor contributing to the decline of mainland kiwi populations,” Ms Barry says.

The 1,200 new traps designed by Wellington company Goodnature utilise the latest lure technology.

The self-resetting traps have been funded by Department of Conservation.

“They automatically reset after each kill and pump out fresh lure, reducing work for volunteers,” Ms Barry says.

“New Zealand is a world leader in conservation technology and research. The Government is focusing on developing breakthrough techniques and is supporting Goodnature and others to ensure we have the right tools to make Predator Free 2050 a reality.”

“Native birds such as kaka are expanding from Wellington – a safe haven in the Rimutaka will provide a network of protection alongside Zealandia and Kapiti Island.”

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