Response to Vicki Coats letter in September SIN

In the September SIN, Vicki Coats asked what impact the proposals for a predator free area in Bluff and reducing the visitor fees on Kapiti Island might have on the projected outcome of the Predator Free Rakiura project. She also asked if the new self-resetting traps could be used for any eradication in the place of a fence and poison. She also asked if her survey results could be published on the website.

As well as posting her question to the September SIN, Vicki also posted her questions on the Predator Free Rakiura website at the same time. So on August 25th well before the SIN was published the results of Vicki’s survey were published on the Predator Free Rakiura website. And we also answered Vicki’s more detailed questions at that time on the Q&A page, which are re-printed below:

Thanks for your questions. Your survey is up on the site.

If the Bluff project proceeds (it is early days), it will be a one of a number of similar small fenced areas on the mainland – like Zealandia and Maungatautari. This is nothing on the scale of Rakiura/ Stewart Island – even the Halfmoon Bay project is many times larger than these mainland sanctuaries. It would however provide a great safe haven for birds migrating between a predator free Rakiura and the mainland.

There are a number of factors which make Kapiti unique, which is why we didn’t include it in our study of predator free tourism. With no wharf or airstrip on the island, travel there is difficult and sporadic. Overnight stays are expensive and capacity is small, so it is only really of interest to small groups going kiwi spotting. DOC dropping its fees is mostly of relevance to visiting school groups.

As to your question on Goodnature traps, DOC is undertaking work to test the concept of defence zones or buffers consisting of traps (including single action, and Goodnature resetting devices) and toxin in bait stations to prevent rat and possum reestablishment into predator free areas; however it is still very early days. Validation of this technique is not expected for a number of years. While the results to date are promising, the technique is not proven to be effective or ready to be rolled out at the scale required for the Stewart Island context.