New Zealand wants to be ‘predator-free’ by 2050

By AG Staff Writer 26 July 2016
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Possums, rats and stoats to be targeted in world-first large-scale pest eradication program across the ditch.

YESTERDAY, THE NEW Zealand Government announced plans to wipe-out all non-native predators by 2050.

Under the new strategy, a new NZ Government company called Predator Free New Zealand Limited, would sponsor community partnerships and pest eradication efforts across the country, working with the private sector as well community groups and the Māori community to target introduced species including rats, stoats and possums.

“New Zealand’s unique native creatures and plants are central to our national identity. They evolved for millions of years in a world without mammals and as a result are extremely vulnerable to introduced predators, which kill around 25 million native birds every year,” said Maggie Barry, New Zealand’s Conservation Minister.

“Now is the time for a concerted long-term nationwide effort to rid ourselves of the introduced rats, stoats and possums that have placed so much of our natural heritage in jeopardy,” she said.

The project is an initiative of both the Department of Conservation and the Ministry for Primary Industries, with possums and ferrets carriers of bovine tuberculosis.

According to the government announcement, research will be conducted under the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge to develop the science and technology needed to achieve the 2050 eradication goal – which, if successful, would be a world-first.