With his tramping boots on and brimming with optimism, volunteer of the month Ian Rasmussen works towards making New Zealand predator-free. By dedicating his life to a pest-free future, Ian is banking on positive returns from an investment of his time and hard work to increase biodiversity.

“I have got the opportunity of working and bringing more birds back into the Ruahine ranges. I noticed that the birds present across the Ruahine region are more than before.” It indicates that intensive predator control is making this area more of a haven for birds and other native wildlife.

Recognizing that the key to protecting and restoring our native biodiversity lies in encouraging a pest-free habitat, Ian is heavily involved in trapping programmes. His latest project is looking at expanding into the Ashhurst and Pohangina area.

Ian has been involved with Ruahine Whio Protectors for over five years and has been closely involved with that project. "I’ve got the fitness currently to handle the sometimes-harsh elements of the Ruahine Ranges," he says. The project has got over two and a half thousand traps. He feels that the work that they do will improve the biodiversity values in the area.

Every organism eats to survive, but some living beings compete with our biodiversity. They attack the flora and fauna that must be protected. Hence, Ian feels that the work he does is worthwhile. "By trapping predators, we can enhance the biodiversity values within the Manawatū river catchment region. We are making a difference. It is never going to stop”.

“When my grandchildren ask about blue ducks, I must be able to tell them that a group of volunteers worked hard to make sure it does not disappear entirely. At least we tried bringing the duck back from the brink of extinction”.

Ian is encouraged by how dedicated volunteers are working together. Ian has linked up with ENM's Manawatū River Source to Sea initiative as they have been successfully establishing community groups to tackle gnarly environmental problems. Volunteers wanting to support predator-free initiatives can email coordinator@enm.org.nz.