February 2015 SIN Update from Predator Free Rakiura Governance Group

The Predator Free Rakiura Governance Group met for the 6th time on Tuesday 10 February in Invercargill. It was quite an eventful meeting and the Governance Group felt it was worth providing an update.

As most of you know, the Governance Group has asked for detailed options to be prepared on how any removal of predators from the Halfmoon Bay area might be achieved. Drafts of these papers were discussed at the meeting. The detail of those options is still being refined, but at this stage all options being looked at involve a ground-based approach for the Halfmoon Bay project.

The indicative costs for implementation looked were significantly higher than initial estimates. The Governance Group had concerns whether this level of funding could be raised. Further work is required on the costs to ensure an accurate estimate is achieved.

Other issues also need to be explored further. For example, one big unknown is the home range size of kiore on Stewart Island Rakiura and how this might change when more dominant rat species are removed. More research is needed into their behavioural patterns to ensure that any ground-based operation could be guaranteed to remove them. This research could make a huge difference to the potential cost of the project, and therefore its chances of going ahead.

The Governance Group has requested further work on all three of the papers that will unfortunately delay their release, including exploring different options for any fence and the removal of predators.

If you have any specific questions you can contact any of the Governance Group or contact the project team via the Q&A section on the www.predatorfreestewartisland.org.nz site.