Alien worms need permit for Mt Cook

Permission is needed for tiger worms to live in Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park.

The Mt Cook community has not given up on the idea of a worm farm to deal with the village's food scraps, but it will take a dispensation to existing legislation to allow that to happen.

The problem is that the tiger worms are not natives.

Fourteen months ago, the Department of Conservation (DOC) built a worm farm suited to the needs of tiger worms, only to discover it was not allowed to bring introduced organisms into the national park.

It had been established a worm farm could environmentally process the 125 tonnes of food waste generated each year by businesses at Mt Cook.

However, Aoraki/Mt Cook conservation services manager Mike Davies said the project was still at the evaluation stage.

"I would like to think in six months' time we will have a clearer picture in regards to the feasibility of worm farms."

Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board support officer Shirley Slatter said more research had been done into the cost of a worm farm.

The projected costs were more than $52,000 a year, and there was still the issue of an introduced species to be overcome.

The board is legally required to provide an environmentally sustainable solid waste disposal and recycling recovery system.

The Timaru Herald