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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Rangitoto and Motutapu – A Starting Point for Future Vertebrate Pest Eradications on Inhabited Islands


Conservation efforts in New Zealand have removed invasive mammals from more than 130 offshore and inshore islands. Of these islands, just 8 were permanently inhabited by someone other than a government employee. In contrast, many future eradication projects within New Zealand will be undertaken on islands with a resident human population. A recent project that removed 8 mammalian pests from Rangitoto and Motutapu islands (3,842 ha), two intensively visited islands with a small number of permanent inhabitants, provides a potential blueprint for developing invasive vertebrate eradication projects on inhabited islands. A number of lessons can be drawn from the Rangitoto and Motutapu project. A proactive consultation process resulted in strong support for the project, and a transparent approach to communications gained exposure for conservation issues. Efforts to engage the media and maintain transparency were beneficial in responding to public concerns about at the project. The project also demonstrated that the human health and safety concerns associated with trapping, shooting, and the use of toxins could be effectively addressed.

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