New role established to make Southland predator free
Protecting native wildlife in Southland has just taken a big step forward with the development of a new Predator Free Southland coordinator role.
The role is a collaborative effort between southern councils, local iwi and the Department of Conservation, and has been filled by Dr. Ini Gunn who will work with local community groups and agencies.
Rather than creating another group herself, Ini will work in with existing groups to coordinate and focus their efforts. Her primary goal will be to come up with a 5-year action plan for Southland to collaborate at scale, to control our predators and protect our biodiversity. She looks forward to working with the multitude of people that are already doing their part.
“Across Southland, many individuals, community groups and organisations are doing predator control projects using traps, bait stations and poison to buy our native species some space and time.”
Having lived in eight countries and managed research projects for 13 years as part of international teams in Europe, Australasia and the Middle East, Ini settled in Southland in 2018. She says she was attracted to Southland by its welcoming community and rugged nature, and went in search of a role that would allow her to contribute to the conservation of New Zealand’s unique biodiversity.
“Southland poses its individual challenges, but the immense work that is already being put in, in order to protect our biodiversity and control our predator numbers, speaks to our vision, dedication and kaitiakitanga for Southland.”
Ini’s work will focus on mainland Southland, excluding Fiordland and Stewart Island where existing Predator control initiatives are already underway.
Ini reports back to a governance group made up of Ngāi Tahu, Environment Southland, the Department of Conservation, Gore District Council, Invercargill City Council and Southland District Council.
To learn more about what Ini is doing, how to contact her and how you can get involved, visit the Environment Southland website: https://www.es.govt.nz/environment/biosecurity-and-biodiversity/predator-free-southland