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'Massively excited': Wellington suburb on verge of becoming predator-free

Newshub logo Newshub 24/10/2020 Alexa Cook
a person sitting in a tree: Miramar Peninsula is on the verge of becoming predator-free. © Newshub Miramar Peninsula is on the verge of becoming predator-free.

A large Wellington suburb is on the verge of becoming completely predator-free.

It's New Zealand's biggest urban eradication project and part of a plan to create the world's first predator-free capital city. 

Gearing up to find the last handful of resilient rats left on Miramar Peninsula is community group Predator Free Wellington.

About 80 cameras on the peninsula help find rat hot spots and after more than a year of work, and nearly 10,000 traps and bait stations, the team is getting close to complete eradication.  

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John Hambridge from Predator Free Wellington says catching the rats requires creativity when it comes to bait. 

"Our own little concoction, old fashioned dripping mixed with some almonds."

While the team was unsuccessful in their efforts today, not many rats have escaped.  

"We're massively excited to get to this point, we've poured our heart and soul into this project. We really want to deliver it for Miramar and Wellington," John says. 

Last month the government pumped $7.6million into Predator Free Wellington to fast track this project. 

It'll mean thousands more of these trap and bait stations in Wellingtonians back yards, and instead of a physical fence to keep predators out, it's a virtual barrier.

"So traps, a lot of them are fitted with electronic nodes that tell us when they go off. If something does come in we'll pick it up pretty quickly," John says. 

Phase two starts next month, with a five-year goal of no rats, stoats, possums, or weasels in the 30,000 hectare Wellington City area. 

All in hopes that the rest of the city will pitch in to help crackdown on predators.

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