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In 2011 motutapu and rangitoto islands were declared pest-free wildlife sanctuaries after a twenty-year pest eradication programme. The massive $3million project is the most complex island pest eradication ever attempted any where in the world according to the Department of Conservation.
It’s being carried out to rid Rangitoto and Motutapu of animal pests including mice, feral cats, hedgehogs and rabbits that feed on birds and insects. Possums and wallabies were successfully wiped out in a campaign in the 1990s. Native birdlife, vital plant life and forest will flourish as a result.
Already breeding pairs of Takahe have been relocated to the islands and a further 30 species of threatened native wildlife are expected to be released onto the islands in the future. These include kiwi, hihi or stitchbird, tuatara and several species of native reptile.
Covering a combined land-base of 3800 hectares, Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands are well on the way to becoming a valuable world-class conservation sanctuary.
If you'd like to explore Rangitoto, join the Fullers Rangitoto Volcanic Explorer Tour, where you'll learn all about the Island's native inhabitants.