Making Miramar Peninsula predator free was the first stage of our wider plan to make Wellington the world’s first predator free capital city!
Why start in Miramar? Te Motu Kairangi was a perfect starting place as it’s characterised by 1086ha of urban, suburban, bush and steep coastal escarpment, 12 schools, 19,230 residents, as well as 7 socioeconomically and culturally diverse suburbs – a bit of everything! Importantly, the Wellington airport runway which lies across the Rongotai Isthmus provides us with a natural barrier which was more easily defendable and as an added bonus, the peninsula has been possum free since 2006.
Where are we at? Having eliminated Norway rats and weasels in 2021, Phase 1 on Miramar Peninsula was completed in Novemeber 2023, with the elimination of the last remaining predator species – ship rats. The peninsula is now free of ship rats, Norway rats, stoats, weasels and possums, and is now in active biosecurity monitoring as we shift our operational focus to Phase 2. You can read more about this exciting milestone here or catch up on the celebration event here.
How do we protect the gains? It is expected that there will be reincursions of rats onto the Peninsula from time to time but we have full confidence in our detection and response network of monitoring cameras, rat detector dog team, volunteers and local residents. We have been testing the biosecurity system for the past 12 months with Norway rats and weasels – and it works! As we progress further into our phase 2 project, this will take the pressure off the Peninsula. If you live on the motu and detect any sign of rat, please let us know via our ‘report a sighting’ form. We are relying on Miramar locals to remain vigilant and be our eyes an ears on the ground for cases of predator re-incursion, protecting Miramar as a predator free haven.
The outcomes for our native taonga are amazing. There has been a 71% increase in the detection of native birds, which includes particularly significant increases of pīwakawaka and riroriro. We’ve also recorded a 200% increase in tree wētā. Anecdotally, we’re spotting species previously absent from the Peninsula such as kārearea (rarer than kiwi), kākāriki, kākā, ruru and geckos.
This has all been made possible by backyard trapping group, Predator Free Miramar. Dan Henry kickstarted the group in 2017, and 5 years later this hugely motivated community is made up of over 1000 households, that have caught over 10,000 introduced predators! On top of that there is the counter-insurgency crew, a group of committed locals that met every Sunday whilst Phase 1 was operationally active to clear traps along the coast and reserves – making up 10% of our operational workforce on the peninsula. The counter-insurgency crew are now heavily involved in our biosecurity monitoring process. You can learn more about the PFM story by reading Dan’s profile and his handy guide ‘How to kill rats and engage a community’.
Want to report a sighting or have an enquiry? Contact us.
Want to find out more about our elimination project? Have a read of our FAQ’s.