The songbirds need you!
A new initiative to turn Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill and Cornwall Park into a safe haven for birds, is being launched this month. The Maungakiekie Songbird Trust will be introducing an innovative eradication programme to reduce the number of rats, possums and other predators around the mountain.
Organiser, Ian Hook, says the key to the project’s success will not be in the park itself, but in the streets surrounding the maunga. For this, the Trust needs the support of residents living next to Cornwall Park and Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill.
Past eradication efforts inside the park have only been partially successful, because after every trapping programme, the maunga has always been “re-invaded” by predators coming in from the surrounding streets. The Trust’s goal is to create a buffer zone, or ‘halo’, by setting traps in the surrounding streets to prevent this happening. Ian says the aim is to ensure “they will have to run the gauntlet before they can even reach the park.”
The first stage of the plan will involve the homes that back on to the park, and their immediate neighbours. The eventual goal is to push the buffer zone to a boundary formed by Manukau Road, Campbell Road, Wheturangi Road, Wapiti Avenue and Ranfurly Road. Further expansion could also include Mount St John.
The Trust needs residents to put traps in their back yards, with the goal of having one rat trap in each of roughly 650 residential properties, and one possum trap for every six properties. Ian says the traps are environmentally friendly and will not use any toxins. He adds that they will also send an alert when they are sprung, so they can be cleared immediately.
Ian says flyers with details of the Trust’s website and how to sign-up will soon be delivered to all the homes surrounding the park. He is also calling for “local champions” to volunteer their time to set and monitor the traps in their streets.
The Trust will be working closely with both the Cornwall Park Trust and Tupūna Maunga Authority to coordinate their pest control efforts. It will also be part of a wider regional effort, with similar Trusts already operating in Ellerslie and Eastern Bays.