Zipline operator clears native bush of predators and challenges other businesses to follow suit

A Rotorua businessman is challenging others to make their backyards predator-free after ridding a 220-hectare block of native bush of pests, for eco-tourism.

Rotorua Canopy Tours has established ziplines above the reserve near Rotorua.

James Fitzgerald of the company told Seven Sharp the unmanaged forest was overrun with predators, possums, rats and stoats and it just felt like the right thing to do to clear them.

Traditional labour intensive traps was driving his business into the ground, but the Department of Conservation later gave them better trapping options, using resetting traps.

"If you can hand on heart say your patch in the world is better off because your business exists, I think that's a good business to take into the 21st century right?" Mr Fitzgerald said.

After seeing the success of Canopy Tours, DOC is also is challenging others to give pest control a go.

"We're up for any Kiwi that wants to have a crack like this. We'll back them to the hilt," said Lou Sanson, Department of Conservation director general.

James has turned a rundown block into a high-flying slice of predator-free land. Source: Seven Sharp