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Published: 2008-06-06 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is proposing to do extensive pest control work in the Te Miro Reserve, 10 kilometres north-east of Cambridge, as part of the Hamilton Halo project aimed at boosting tui numbers.

A meeting to discuss the proposal and to hear the community’s thoughts on what sort of pest control should be undertaken is to be held on Wednesday 18 June in the Te Miro Settlers Hall, Te Miro Rd, from 7pm-9pm.

Tui numbers in the Waikato are low due to constant chick predation from ship rats and possums. It is estimated only 27 per cent of tui chicks survive to leave the nest.

The Hamilton Halo project is designed to protect tui and other native birds from rats and possums, with a view to boosting native bird numbers in urban areas and the immediate surrounding countryside. It involves creating a 20 kilometre feeding range circle or halo around Hamilton, to which tui can be drawn to feed during winter.

Environment Waikato wants to include the Department of Conservation-managed Te Miro Reserve in its pest control programme to support the Halo project, and to support native bird life in the Te Miro village area.

Te Miro is one of the largest bush fragments in the eastern part of the Halo area and Landcare Research scientist John Innes has radio-tracked tui travelling to and from Hamilton and Te Miro Reserve.

However, recent monitoring has shown very high possum numbers in the reserve, while ship rat monitoring is to be undertaken soon.

“If predator numbers are not kept very low during the critical nesting period, between October and January, native bird numbers and bush quality at Te Miro will slowly decline, “said Environment Waikato’s Hamilton Halo coordinator Ben Paris.

Mr Paris encouraged interested people to attend the 18 June meeting so that Environment Waikato and the Department of Conservation gained a good understanding of the views of local people about how they should proceed with pest control.

“We are very keen to get the community’s input as this will help us take into account any good ideas or concerns that local people have,” said Mr Paris.