NPDC park project helping make Sugar Loaf Islands pest-free

08 June 2018

Predator traps built and laid by New Plymouth schoolkids and NPDC are helping to secure a safe home for native birds and reptiles on the Sugar Loaf Islands (Nga Motu).

Students at Francis Douglas Memorial College made 26 traps and set them at NPDC’s Centennial Park.

Together with NPDC’s 24 traps, they will create a barrier to help stop rats and other predators swimming out to the islands and assist in the goal of creating New Zealand’s first predator-free region.

The project is being run with Taranaki Mounga, which aims to restore and preserve the native biodiversity around the mountain, the Pouakai and Kaitake ranges and the islands.

The trapping programme is a major step towards growing community involvement in the work, says Liam Hodgetts, NPDC Group Manager Strategy.

“This project focuses on sustainability and protecting our biodiversity for future generations,” says Mr Hodgetts.

The islands are important for 19 species of seabirds and provide nesting grounds for about 10,000 birds.  They’re also one of the last outposts for the nationally endangered Cook’s scurvy grass (Lepidium oleraceum), a New Zealand native herb. 

The area is also a home for the gold-striped Taranaki gecko, the region’s only native lizard.

The students will lay another 22 traps in Centennial Park next year and other agencies plan to lay another 15 traps on steeper parts of the park. 

Taranaki Mounga is working with community groups, schools and iwi to restore and protect native wildlife around Egmont National Park and create an ecological corridor that extends from Mounga to Moana (Mountain to Sea).

Last month, the Taranaki Regional Council launched the Towards a Predator-Free Taranaki project after receiving $11.7 million from the government’s Predator Free 2050 fund.

The aim is to eradicate stoats, rats and possums from the region and is expected to cost $47 million in the first five years.

NPDC and other Taranaki councils are partners in the project along with the Department of Conservation, Wild for Taranaki, Taranaki Mounga, iwi and other groups.
Predator free Sugar Loaves with Francis Douglas