City Sanctuary is funded by Predator Free Dunedin and will receive $1.1 million over 5 years (until 2023). Predator Free Dunedin receives its funding for the project from Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and Predator Free 2050 Limited.
Our vision is to create a vibrant City Sanctuary where wildlife thrives, and communities are leading city-wide predator control.
Our project area includes 8,349 hectares extending from North East Valley to South Dunedin, along to Brighton and up to Chain Hills.
This includes three pilot suburbs in Caversham, Maori Hill and North Dunedin which will be our focus for the next year, as well as ten priority suburbs and ten priority reserves.
If you live in Caversham, Maori Hill or North Dunedin, register your interest to become a community champion and lead trapping efforts in your neighbourhood.
If you live outside these areas, find a local community group.
If you want to start trapping in one of our ten priority reserves, please get in touch.
Over the next year, we are supporting communities in the following pilot suburbs to get 1 in 10 households protecting native wildlife through backyard predator control.
- Maori Hill (July 2020)
- North Dunedin (February 2021)
- Caversham (July 2021)
We’re also working with new and existing community groups in our priority suburbs to provide trapping and monitoring equipment.
We don’t currently have traps for sale but are developing a guide to backyard trapping that will include information about what traps to use and where to buy them. Check whether your local community group has traps to buy or borrow.
We are supporting communities to do predator control in ten priority reserves, starting with Dalmore Reserve and Chingford Park.
- If your group is keen to get involved at a priority reserve, please get in touch.
- If your group is keen to get involved at a reserve not listed as a priority, please contact Dunedin City Council’s Volunteer Project Facilitator (Daniel.Jephson@dcc.govt.nz).
The City Sanctuary project is targeting rats, possums and stoats as these are the species included in the Predator Free 2050 strategy. We expect other pest species (like mice, weasels and hedgehogs) will also be caught.
Introduced predators like rats, possums and stoats are a major problem for New Zealand’s plants and animals. For millions of years, our native wildlife evolved without the threat of ground-based mammal predators. This means they are vulnerable to predation and unable to defend themselves.
Since people and predators arrived on our shores, dozens of species have gone extinct. Today, around 4,000 of our native wildlife and plants are at risk of meeting the same fate. So long as rats, possums and stoats remain in New Zealand, our native wildlife will continue to decline and those threatened with extinction could vanish forever.
We aren’t targeting cats. However, you can protect native wildlife by keeping your cat inside from dusk until dawn when they’re most likely to be hunting. This will reduce their impact on wildlife, keep your cat safe and make the most of cuddles on cold winter nights.
We use a range of traps depending on the pest species being targeted and the location. The full list of traps we use and the species being targeted includes:
- BT 200 traps (mustelids including stoats, ferrets and weasels)
- Goodnature A24 self-resetting traps (rats, stoats)
- T-rex traps (rats)
- Trapinators (possums)
- Victors (rats)
All traps meet National Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (NAWAC) guidelines meaning they are proven to kill the target species quickly and consistently.
No, we aren’t currently using poisons or toxins for this project.
Dunedin City Council does predator control in reserves throughout the city. You can find a full list of predator control operations on Council land on their website.
Keeping pets safe around traps is important and something we consider at all times.
Rat and stoat traps are kept inside a wooden box or tunnel. These have a small entrance that allow predators to get in but keep pets out. They also have a wire mesh barrier to stop cats reaching bait with their paws.
Possum traps are installed at a height where they can’t be reached by pets. We use lures (like peanut butter or aniseed) that are less likely to attract pets and never use a meat or fish bait.
Trap aversion training for pets can also help. This involves bringing a dog or cat near the trap, putting the lure on its nose, and setting off the trap so it gets a fright and associates both the lure and trap with a negative experience.
For people who are still concerned about pet safety, we suggest setting the trap overnight and keeping pets indoors.
City Sanctuary is one of three Predator Free Dunedin projects and is being delivered Dunedin City Council. Our work will connect the large-scale predator control projects already happening on the Otago Peninsula and to the North of Dunedin.
City Sanctuary staff report to a steering committee comprised of representatives from Predator Free Dunedin, Dunedin City Council and the Department of Conservation. Our work is directed by the City Sanctuary Implementation Plan.