Government invests $15.7 million to make West Coast forests predator-free

The Government today has announced it will invest $15.7 million to help make West Coast forests predator-free.

Kea. Source: Sunday

Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage said the five-year project aimed to make the forests of Mount Te Kinga at Kotuku Whakaoho/Lake Brunner possum-free and protect the area from reinvasion.

“When possums are gone, the Te Kinga area will be a special sanctuary for wildlife which can be enjoyed by visitors to Moana and Lake Brunner and those who stop on the TranzAlpine train journey,” Ms Sage said.

She said the project would give a much needed helping hand for the area’s threatened birds, such as the great spotted kiwi, kea, kaka and whio.

“Predator Free Te Kinga and Lake Brunner will also directly create around 12 new jobs, enabling conservation trainees from Greymouth Polytechnic to work alongside predator control contractors, farmers and community volunteers and get practical experience in the field,” Ms Sage said.

Of the $15.7 million, Predator Free 2050 Ltd is funding $4.4 million out of the Provincial Growth Fund and contributions from the West Coast Regional Council and other community groups.

Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau said the project would “provide great prospects for local employment and the long-term economic future of the West Coast district”.