A fantail, or pÄ«wakawaka, happily flies around Dan Henry as he treads dirt on a trail in the Centennial Preserve, Miramar.
This is one of many examples of how Miramar is welcoming more native birds, setting it on course to become possibly the world’s first predator-free urban area – on track by the end of the year. .
Henry runs Predator Free Miramar (PFM), a grassroots community organization that has been setting traps in Miramar backyards since 2016.
âIt’s not supposed to be here,â he said. “This is a black-tailed pÄ«wakawaka. They are only supposed to live in the South Island.”
* Ravenous “monster rats” destroying bait stations and pipes
* Predators eliminate “the most important and complex urban eradication”
* Rat census reveals rodents are on the increase
* Parasites in the capital also prefer gourmet peanut butter
* Rats and stoats endangered as the predator-free project kicks off
* Wellington shoots to become the first predator-free capital
Predator free was “just a practical name for possum, rat, and mustelid free,” he said.
âIt’s pretty much all rats until the last one. It’s not just a sexy name for ‘not a lot of rats’.
“It’s never been done anywhere in the world before in an urban setting like this, on this scale, butâ¦ it works.”
But the community had to remain vigilant.
Predator Free Wellington (PFW) placed measuring devices in July, to identify and zone the remaining populations.
In the first week, only 11 rats and five weasels were caught – out of 3,200 traps.
James Wilcocks of PFW said this week will see yet another development for survivors.
“We count on the fantastic support of the community to be the eyes and the ears.”
Henry believed that success was the result of a community movement bringing everyone with him.
“We’re here to kill rats and have a good time doing it, and getting to know our neighbors.”
It was crucial to transform the conservation dialogue into a positive dialogue.
“Weâ¦ shouted it from the rooftops when we caught the hundredth rat, and the 500th rat, and the thousandth rat.
“And allowed people to post pictures of dead things.”
The PFM Facebook group questioned whether it was fair to post photos of new victims. Henry did not apologize.
“We are a competitive species and for every person who balks at the sight of a rat … I caught one rat, I’m going to see if I can catch two.”
It wasn’t always about the birds either.
“To others it’s’ the rats are disgusting and I don’t want them on my property ‘, or …’ they gnaw the dishwasher outlet and flood the kitchen and we cost $ 500 ‘. “
“That’s why I know it will work, because it’s a story about people.”