Pest Free Whitby Celebrates Volunteers’ Efforts in Protecting Local Wildlife

On 11 June, the Whitby group organised an outing at the Sandbar in Mana to thank their Line Trappers for their hard work.

Pest Free Whitby (PFW), a dedicated group of volunteers, is transforming Whitby into a sanctuary for native birds, lizards, and insects. Part of the larger Pest Free Porirua and Predator Free NZ 2050 initiative, PFW organised a social outing on 11 June at the Sandbar in Mana. This event allowed trappers to socialise and be recognised for their invaluable work. Attendees included members from Aotea, Papakowhai, Camborne, and Paremata groups, reflecting the community’s collective commitment.

Established in 2017, PFW has grown significantly, with over 400 registered community traps and over 20 reserve traplines. Their social media presence includes over 700 followers and 300 group members. PFW collaborates with eight other pest-free communities in Porirua, sharing knowledge, training, and resources.

This year, PFW received funding from the Greater Wellington Regional Council to enhance trap coverage across Whitby reserves. This required recruiting and training over 20 new line monitors to manage the traps, which are re-baited and cleared at least twice a month by dedicated teams.

PFW targets rats, possums, hedgehogs, stoats, and weasels, which pose significant threats to the local ecosystem. The volunteers’ efforts have led to an increase in native bird populations and food sources. Positioned between the Pauatahanui Wildlife Reserve and Zealandia, Porirua is crucial in facilitating the spread of birds from predator-free zones.

The recent gathering celebrated the volunteers’ hard work and dedication. PFW and other pest-free communities continuously seek volunteers to manage traps in their sections or assist with trap maintenance. Interested individuals can contact [email protected].

Through community engagement, Pest Free Whitby is making a tangible difference in safeguarding Whitby’s natural heritage for future generations.