Central to Whenua Restoration is the desire to restore and protect New Zealand’s biological diversity and heritage.
New Zealand conservationists have shown they are among the most sophisticated and innovative problem solvers in the world by bringing many native species back from the brink of extinction. Much of their success has been achieved using tools as simple as trapping.
Papa Taiao Earthcare is built on the premise that people can make a positive difference when they know how. To this end, students have the opportunity to learn basic techniques aimed at maintaining and enhancing natural resource and rebuilding resilient ecosystems through pest control.
There are four courses to choose from; Project Possum, Project Predator, Project Rodent and Project Plant Pest.
Possums prey on both native flora and fauna.
The most popular techniques for controlling them include trapping and spreading toxins. Trapping is straightforward and can be productive for the trapper.
At $115 a kilo possum fur is a valuable commodity. Students who complete the Project Possum introductory course leave with the skills to trap and harvest possums and five leg-hold traps to start a small sustainable business for enterprising students.
Students completing the Advanced Project Possum leave with an industry qualification—a Controlled Substances Licence.
Stoats are widely regarded as the most significant predator of a number of New Zealand’s most threatened and endangered native bird species. Stoat control will have to be ongoing if some endemic species, such as kiwi and kaka, are to survive on the mainland.
Project Predator focuses on the impact mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels) are having on New Zealand’s fauna. Students then learn how to trap for mustelids.
Rats and mice are arguably the most destructive pest species for our native biodiversity. They have voracious appetite for native flora and fauna. They predate on seed, seedlings, insects, birds and their eggs.
Project Rodent introduces students to the ecological threat rodents have on our native eco-systems and teaches techniques to manage them.
Project Plant Pest
Plants lie at the base of the ecological pyramid and many native fauna (animals) and flora (plants) rely on the native plants for food and protection. The biggest threat to native flora are exotic pest plants.
Students will learn the role of plants in healthy ecosystems and begin to understand some of the techniques employed to manage plant pest species.