Science and Social License: The Predator Free 2050 Research Strategy
Update – 16 November 2017
Predator Free 2050 Ltd today revealed the organisation’s four-part science research strategy to help save our natural heritage.
Developed in partnership with leading scientists and predator control experts, the strategy is designed to achieve one of the organisation’s 2025 interim goals; a break-through science solution capable of eradicating a mammalian predator from the New Zealand mainland.
“This is how we intend to drive the science behind Predator Free 2050” says Ed Chignell, CEO of Predator Free 2050 Ltd.
The research strategy has the backing of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge and has undergone review by independent experts.
Dr Dan Tompkins, Project Manager for the Predator Free 2050 Ltd Science Strategy, says that the focus of the approach is on informing a national conversation.
“The first programme of the research strategy is ‘environment and society’, an exploration of New Zealand’s social and cultural views about predator eradication. It is the foundation for the entire strategy and signals Predator Free 2050’s commitment to transparency and dialogue right from the outset. A science breakthrough without a deep respect for ethics and the social license to operate, is no breakthrough at all.”
Elements of the ‘environment and society’ programme are underway through a bioethics panel and a recently completed social survey – both initiated by the Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.
“The strategy separates technical research into two further programmes, each separate pathways to achieve the Predator Free goal” says Dr Tompkins.
“A programme on ‘eradicating the last 1%’ focuses on upgrading current predator control approaches. While New Zealand is a world leader in mammalian pest control, eradication and keeping areas predator free remains a challenge.”
“Recent advances in fields like wireless remote monitoring and AI offer exciting potential to innovate and build on the success of current approaches. Initially, the ‘eradicating the last 1%’ programme will focus on possums.”
The second technical programme aims to inform New Zealanders as to the benefits and risks of ‘new genetic control tools’, prior to any commitment to develop such tools for Predator Free 2050. Dr Tompkins acknowledges the concerns some New Zealanders and international observers have about this approach and notes that there are many technological hurdles to overcome.
“Predator Free 2050 are not advocating for any specific technology to achieve New Zealand’s eradication goals. The organisation’s role is to advance our understanding of the range of options available for the task and facilitate a national conversation as to which approaches meet our collective social, ethical and practical standards.”
“Informed by international perspectives, New Zealand stakeholders need to collectively decide which technologies should have a place in the Predator Free 2050 vision, and which should not.”
Underpinning the Predator Free 2050 research strategy is the fourth programme, ‘computer modelling’. This involves the development of shared tools that all communities and agencies contributing to Predator Free 2050 can use to design the right approach for their goals and environment.
Dr Andrea Byrom, Director of the Biological Heritage Science Challenge, says the organisation stands behind the Predator Free research strategy.
“The Challenge has always recognised that the Predator-Free vision is bigger than all of us, so we support a collective effort – including a coordinated and joined-up science and research effort – to achieve this goal.”
The release of the research strategy follows Predator Free 2050 Ltd’s recent call for expressions of interest in funding and support for landscape scale predator control projects.
2017 WWF Conservation Innovation Awards
Update – 8 October 2017
Search is on for the next environmental game-changers
As of today, 25 entries have been logged from Kiwis across the country for WWF-New Zealand’s 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards, including from Dunedin, Nelson, Auckland, Raglan, Kerikeri, Hamilton, Martinborough, Wellington, Palmerston North, Christchurch and Waikanae. And we are welcoming many more entries.
Closing on 15 October, the Conservation Innovation Awards will reward innovative environmental game-changers. To submit your idea, visit wwf-nz.crowdicity.com. Designed to help innovators fast-track their ideas to development, the Awards cover three categories – Engaging young people and communities, Predator Free New Zealand 2050, and an Open Category. A prize package of $25,000 will be awarded to each category winner.
All New Zealanders can get involved in the Awards by joining the WWF Conservation Innovation community at wwf-nz.crowdicity.com to comment and vote on their favourite ideas.
The 2017 Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.
Release – 26 September 2017
WWF NZ and Predator Free 2050 Ltd are looking for big, bold game-changers to help our environment.
If you’re an inventor, an innovator, or a creator, enter the 2017 Conservation Innovation Awards for the chance to win a $25k grant.
The Awards – open from 25 September to 15 October – celebrate Kiwi innovators whose bright ideas look set to make a real difference in protecting our precious ecosystems and native species.
Prizes will be awarded in three categories:
- Engaging young people and communities
- Predator Free New Zealand 2050
- Open Category
Last year’s winners were a water testing device, a drone tracking system and an app that maps kauri dieback.
“The Award has opened doors, broken down some barriers and opened minds to what is achievable.” Philip Solaris, 2016 winner with ‘DroneCounts’
The Conservation Innovation Awards are supported by The Tindall Foundation, Department of Conservation, Callaghan Innovation, Predator Free 2050 Ltd and New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.
We’re proud to support people who are leading innovation in New Zealand conservation and protecting our unique places and wildlife.
Ed Chignell talks to Radio Live
Ed Chignell interview – 16 September 2017
Predator Free 2050 Ltd CEO Ed Chignell talks to Radio Live’s Graeme Hill about Predator Free 2050 and the recent call out for expressions of interest to parties seeking funding and support for large scale predator eradication projects. Listen to the interview here.
Predator Free 2050 Ltd on the hunt to fund bold conservation projects
News Release — 12 September 2017
Starting today (12 September), New Zealand conservation groups committed to broad scale predator eradication are encouraged to lodge an expression of interest for funding and support from Predator Free 2050 Ltd.
The organisation – tasked with eradicating possums, rats and stoats from New Zealand by 2050 is seeking Expressions of Interest from regional and local councils, community organisations, mana whenua, businesses, Non-Governmental Organisations and other entities capable of delivering eradication initiatives in line with its 2025 goals.
The 2025 goals include enlarging target predator suppression to an additional one million hectares of mainland New Zealand, eradicating predators from at least 20,000 hectares of mainland New Zealand without the use of fences, eradicating all predators from New Zealand’s island nature reserves and achieving a breakthrough science solution capable of eradicating at least one small mammalian predator from the mainland.
Predator Free 2050 Ltd is required to secure matching investment of $2 for every $1 of Crown investment. Accordingly, any proposed landscape scale projects need to be able of demonstrating the ability or potential to provide sufficient funding to meet these financial parameters.
Expressions of interest will need to demonstrate a clear potential for large-scale predator eradication and will be evaluated against 13 criteria. Most notably, projects need to be ambitious in scale, capable of delivering transformational biodiversity gains, align to the Predator Free mission and demonstrate sound management capacity and financials.
Predator Free 2050 Ltd CEO Ed Chignell says these large-scale projects are critical to driving forward the Predator Free 2050 vision. “These are our pathfinder projects, the proving grounds for innovative new tools and a collaborative partnership approach.
“We’re laying the foundations for the next three decades of Predator Free 2050 operations, working towards achieving our mainland suppression/eradication goals and making inroads towards scientific breakthrough.”
Expressions of interest close on October 13, followed by shortlisting and requests for full proposals. Funding approvals are slated for mid-February 2018.
Parties interested in lodging an expression of interest can find out more here.