Pest control

In November 2006, the Auckland Regional Council accepted that the best way to achieve an open sanctuary in Shakespear Regional Park was to build a pest-proof fence. The Auckland Council was granted resource consent for the pest proof fence in 2009, and the fence was constructed between October 2010 and March 2011.

Fence

The fence is 1.7 km long and runs from Army Bay to Okoromai Bay, enclosing an area of about 500 hectares, and cost $750,000. It includes an automatic gate for vehicle access to the Park, while three smaller gates allow pedestrians though. The boat ramp at Army Bay and dog walking areas at Okoromai remain outside the fence.

The Auckland Council was then granted resource consent for the pest animal eradication programme in January 2011. Pest eradication was carried out in July and August 2011, during which time the park was closed to the public. It remained closed for a further 120 days and re-opened in December 2011. All introduced mammalian pests have been removed, except mice.

The Auckland region has ten species that are declared pests; mice, ship rats, Norway rats, weasels, stoats, ferrets, cats, possums, rabbits and hedgehogs. Although all target pests (except mice) have been removed from the Sanctuary there is a constant risk of re-invasion around or through the fence due to the open public access.

The fence is therefore complemented by a system of trap-lines and tracking tunnels throughout the Park, all of which have to be checked regularly. This is one of the main activities of SOSSI members,with routine checks of the fence itself.

Now that there are no rabbits and possums within the Sanctuary, native plant seedlings are coming up everywhere.  Unfortunately so are the pest plants.

Moth plant

Common weeds  found in bush areas include Chinese privet, Elaeagnus, loquat, monkey apple, woolly nightshade, pampus, wild ginger, and some heavy infestations of hakea.  In more open areas of the park, mostly managed by contracted weed companies, there are Moth Plant, Cotoneaster, Phoenix palms, Smilax, and Mexican devil.

Many of these have come from private gardens and other areas outside the Park, carried in by wind and birds. You can help by removing them when you find them – details below and at the Weedbusters website.

Like to help?