Environment Southland has joined the governance group exploring the concept of a predator-free Stewart Island.
Predator-free Rakiura Project members asked Environment Southland to join the group which proposes to remove predators from Stewart Island.
The group comprises community members, businesses, landowners, councils, the Department of Conservation and funders.
Environment Southland biosecurity manager Richard Bowman said the group's first task was to work through the logistics of pest eradication and the construction of a predator-proof fence extending from Halfmoon Bay to the Rakiura Track, covering 5000 hectares.
The predators on Stewart Island were possums, feral cats and rats, he said.
"Making Stewart Island/Rakiura predator-free will be a world first, both for this size of project and for the fact that it includes a permanent community. A project of this scale is also likely to achieve Unesco World Heritage accreditation."
The project is being advanced by the Morgan Foundation in partnership with DOC.
Environmental campaigner Gareth Morgan outlined his vision for the eradication of wild cats, rats and possums on Stewart Island to residents at a community meeting last year.
Mr Morgan caused nationwide controversy earlier this year when he suggested domestic cats were destroying native bird populations and should be kept inside or got rid of.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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