The ambitious Cape to City project is an exemplar of landscape scale predator control and a conference is a great way to share lessons learnt and experience gained.
Over three days of beautiful spring weather we attended the Cape To City Transforming Biodiversity conference held in Napier from November 14 to 16. This well attended conference covered predator control work and research being carried out as part of the twin projects of Cape to City and Poutiri Ao o Tane.
The Cape to City project is a true landscape scale project and extends over 26,000 hectares of the Tukituki River catchment south of Napier City and Cape Kidnappers. This project area is dominated by pastoral farming with areas of plantation forest and small remnants of native forest scattered throughout. Across this area a network of some 3,000 spring traps has been established primarily targeting ferrets and other mustelids but also catching rodents.
In contrast, Poutiri Ao o Tane is a project focused on a large area of native forest in northern Hawkes Bay covering 8,800 ha in the Maungaharuru Range. Here the primary focus is on feral cat control as part of broader ecological restoration.
The conference included two days of seminar presentations from a wide range of speakers including Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research scientists, tangata whenua, ecological restoration managers, community conservation initiatives and policymakers. These covered a diverse range of topics from research and project experiences to challenging think pieces on how landscape scale predator control and ecological restoration might address the daunting task and scale of making these sorts of projects increasingly effective. The third day was an opportunity to attend one of two field trips to see these projects up close and in action.
The event was very well organised and even better catered allowing plenty of opportunities to catch up with old acquaintances and make new ones. The Cape to City website is a great resource to learn more about these projects and to see the conference presentations on their You Tube channel.
What's in a Name?
The familiar saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" warns about the risks that come with trying to achieve more by challenging the status quo.