ORC funding targets pests

The Otago Regional Council has thrown its financial support behind aproject to control stoats, ferrets and rats beyond the Orokonui Ecosanctuary,  northeast of Dunedin.  Council chief executive Peter Bodeker said the council would provide up to $134,000, as part of the $212,000 Landscape Connections Trust needed for the first year of the project.  The council funding will come from its environmental enhancement fund and will buy pest control equipment.  The trust co-ordinates the Halo Project, which is part of the trust’s wider "Beyond Orokonui" initiative.

The project seeks to co-ordinate a response to the threats posed by animal pests in the area immediately surrounding the ecosanctuary.  Pests such as stoats, ferrets, rats and possums in the area preyed on lizards, birds and eggs and chewed through native foliage.  They also acted as vectors for pests and diseases, particularly Tb.  Trust project manager Rhys Millar was "absolutely delighted" about the funding, and said the trust aimed to appoint a project co-ordinator later this year to drive the work.  For more see: www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/orc-funding-targets-pests