International information sharing a key part of Predator Free 2050 goals

July 23, 2021 11:25 am

The sheer audacity of attempting to eradicate possums, stoats and rats from New Zealand is attracting keen global interest, with PF2050 Ltd advisors being sought as keynote speakers at international events and sharing information with similar international organisations.

Following a key note address at the 2021 North American Invasive Species Forum in May 2021 attended by experts from Canada, the United States, Mexico, Australia and England, recently we briefed the Chilean Environment Ministry. We received significant positive feedback on each, and the Predator Free 2050 goal and work programme was later profiled in the Chilean media.

Aotearoa-New Zealand is well-regarded globally for its can-do attitude, its determination to achieve and for punching above its weight – and particularly with conservation – but clearly international eyebrows have moved significantly upwards at PF2050’s ambitious goal. The obvious question – “how?” – is being asked in an increasing number of languages.

After all, we’re talking eradication of three diverse and prolifically breeding predator species from more than 94% of New Zealand’s rural, backcountry and urban settings within the next 30 years. We welcome that interest, and the resulting information sharing – in both directions – is becoming an increasingly valuable part of the PF2050 programme.

Reversing biodiversity decline and removing the threat posed to some 80% of 168 of Aotearoa-New Zealand’s remaining native bird species under threat from possums, stoats and rats is well understood. So too is the benefit of eradication in helping restore ecosystems, making forests more diverse and increasingly robust to disease and other stressors, including climate change. It’s also well-documented that eradication efforts have been successful on more than 100 of our offshore islands.

Our international audiences are encouraged that large islands close to the mainland, such as D’Urville, are pursuing the elimination of predators that will allow the return of native kiwi, kaka and kakariki.

We know we can’t do it alone, so we are sharing with them our collaborative partnerships with a range of Government and private entities as well as community groups and conservation trusts to build capability, and the growing support from regions and communities around New Zealand, such as Wellington, which are already proving transformative.

They are keen to know more about PF2050 Ltd’s recently-launched research strategy, and the breakthrough science and new eradication tools it aims to enable to support these efforts, and what might be useful in restoring their own environments. They are excited by the use of technology, including automatic luring and trapping devices, and the use of drones and motion and thermal cameras.

Our international connections will clearly continue to monitor New Zealand’s progress with a great deal of interest – and there should be much to be interested in.

Between now and 2025, PF2050 is aiming to suppress predators on a further one million hectares and to eradicate predators from at least 20,000 hectares without using fences. We’re also aiming for a scientific breakthrough making possible the eradication of at least one target predator.

We’ll also have to prevent re-establishment of predators in cleared areas while accelerating eradication efforts. As ever, ongoing public support will remain vital to achieving our ultimate goal.

Blog by Predator Free 2050 Limited’s Science Strategy Manager, Professor Dan Tompkins


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