Taumata lagoon, an area replanted by Hayes over the past three decades and heavily reliant on trapping. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

ARTHUR HAWKES
arthur.hawkes@age.co.nz

Carterton arms dealer and conservationist Neil Hayes has placed a trespass notice on the Greater Wellington Regional Council, who he said had abandoned a major trapping programme on his land.

Neil Hayes. PHOTO/FILE

Hayes, who was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for his conservation work breeding endangered Brown Teal, reported that GWRC’s trapping efforts around his property had been stopped completely. He said he now wanted the council off his property for good.

Hayes’ complaint was that the cost savings for cancelling the trapping were minor and that the area had benefited a great deal from the work, which led to over 50 bird species being identified.

“Steve Playle [GWRC] had done predator control here for about 10 years, and saw 10,000 predators eliminated – then out of the blue they cancelled the whole programme.

“It’s only peanut money they’re spending as well. Steve does six wetlands in Wairarapa, and the birdlife is mind-boggling because there are no predators.”

The news that trapping had ceased on Hayes’ land, echoed another story, published in April, where GWRC paused almost all predator controls due to covid-19 concerns – this was closely followed by the tragedy at Pukaha in May, where six kiwis were found killed by mustelids [likely ferrets], whose numbers had spiked over the period of lax trapping.

Hayes said he wanted trapping to start again, but was not going to allow the council on to his land, to conduct any other work, until predator controls restarted.

“We’d be very happy to see GWRC start the trapping again.

“In the meantime, we will start baiting some of the traps as soon as we can – at least while all the traps are still on our block, and on Barry Silvester’s [neighbouring] block.”

At time of publication [Thursday], GWRC had not responded for further comment.



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