Casting the net more widely

September 9, 2021 3:41 pm

Published in the August 2021 edition of NZBI’s Protect newsletter

We want to share with you a few changes and some exciting developments at Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) in the last few months.

PF2050 Ltd now supports 16 landscape-scale Predator Free projects throughout the country. This includes eight new projects in the last year, with more on the way.

Thanks to Jobs for Nature funding, the total area covered by the projects has more than doubled in size since this time last year. Each project is unique, ambitious and adopts leading-edge approaches to help us accelerate the national journey towards a Predator Free Aotearoa.

Map showing the location of projects supported and the funding source secured by PF2050 Ltd to support the projects to achieve their goals.

Some of the initial projects are already nearing eradication of their target species, and in total they are aiming for predator eradication on nearly 300,000 hectares of mostly mainland Aotearoa. If that is not impressive enough, they contribute over 700,000 hectares towards predator suppression, which is bringing us close to the national target of one million hectares of predator suppression by 2025.

The changing nature of predator free work
This rapid increase in projects is creating lots of opportunities and challenges.
One is an increasing demand for people with knowledge and skills in predator eradication, which is a vastly different mindset and process to ongoing suppression of predators. It is also creating a demand for eradication tools and new technology.

The Predator Free New Zealand Trust has stepped in with an apprenticeship scheme to in-part cover some training challenges, and PF2050 Ltd and Department of Conservation have stepped in to help with the increasing demand for tools and technology with the Products to Projects programme (PF2050 Ltd), alongside the programme of Tools to Market (DOC).

Learning from each other
To support this increase in projects, new staff have come on board PF2050 Ltd. This has not only allowed us to take a partnership and ‘In service to projects’ approach, it has also created more opportunities for projects and technical ‘experts’ to learn from each other.

One such opportunity was held recently, where we brought all the projects working on eradicating stoats together with all the stoat technical experts from around the country for a day.

The aim? To nut out what could be agreed about best approaches to eradicating stoats and where the gaps in knowledge are. One participant commented that there has not been a similarly focused national session on eradicating a particular pest species for 40 years.

A review paper will be published following the stoat workshop, which will advance our collective understanding of eradicating stoats. Many more topic-specific workshops are being planned, from Community Engagement or individual species, through to Information Technology needs.

We also ran a two-day learning-from-each- other workshop in May for the Landscape-scale projects we support. It was really heartening to see the projects connecting and talking openly about their projects’ highs and lows, ins and outs. The main message that came out of this workshop is summed up beautifully in this whakataukī:

Some of the key themes that emerged:
• Early and sustained engagement and building solid partnerships with mana whenua is critical
• Sociocultural partnerships are inextricably linked to operational success
• We need to build more capability in the sector
• Information sharing within the sector needs to be more efficient.
We will keep you posted on new projects or initiatives and look forward to creating more opportunities for cross-pollination of ideas and resources. This will drive us, collectively and with urgency, towards a Predator Free Aotearoa by 2050.

Photo Credit: Melissa Brignall-Theyer