Eradicating the last 1%

While New Zealand is a world leader in predator control, eradication and keeping areas predator free is a challenge. This programme will see if advances with currently employed tools and approaches can make eradication at the landscape scale possible, initially for possums.

  • Behaviour of survivors and rural/urban possums – Understanding the behaviour of possums that survive current control approaches, to make those approaches better, and informing how to efficiently and effectively eradicate possums from urban and rural landscapes.
  • Aerial eradication of possums in back-country – Aerial 1080 bait application can now achieve high levels of possum control efficacy with greatly reduced non-target and environmental impacts. This will inform on whether improvements can achieve reliable eradication.
  • Lean lethal detection networks for possums across all habitats – Developing optimised sparse landscape-scale networks of devices to detect (and possibly remove) individual possums at low density, for reinvasion prevention and eradication after imperfect control.
  • Novel modes of toxin action – If further development of current landscape scale toxic bait approaches are unable to reliably eradicate possums, one possible avenue will be to explore how novel modes of action (such as toxin micro-encapsulation) could improve efficacy.
  • On-board decision making / AI – Efficacy of devices to both detect and control predators could be greatly enhanced by algorithms allowing accurate real-time species identification. If such enhancement is needed, we will drive artificial intelligence solutions for possums.