10,000 days to Predator Freedom, Community Leaders on why it’s more than just the birds
August 15, 2023 11:45 am
As of Tuesday 15 August 2023, Aotearoa will have 10,000 days to accomplish the ambitious Predator Free goal of eradicating possums, rats, and stoats by the end of 2050. Thousands of community groups across the country are doing their part and the movement is gaining momentum exponentially, bringing people together for a common goal.
In celebration of the 10,000-day countdown which we see as an opportunity to take a moment to imagine what the future will hold, Predator Free 2050 Limited reached out to some top community leaders throughout New Zealand and asked them what they thought about the gains being made by the movement.
Sir Graham Henry, who knows something about winning teams, says that Te Korowai o Waiheke, the community-led trust established to make Waiheke the world’s first predator free urban island, is “a big team all commited, all working together – you can’t get much beter than that!”
Estelle Leask, speaking for her Ngāi Tahu whakapapa, ki Murihiku (Southland) community, says Predator Free 2050 is about more than biodiversity. “I found purpose in my life, created wonderful friendships with likeminded people doing really meaningful mahi enhancing mana, and enabling me to practice kaitiakitanga o te taiao.”
In the last six years Predator Free 2050 Limited has come a long way and now funds 18 large projects that are targeting possums, rats and stoats over more than 750,000 hectares across a mix of rural and urban landscapes. Already, over 50,000 hectares have been cleared and are being defended using a suite of tools and technology developed and brought to market through Predator Free 2050 Limited’s Products to Projects funding.
Included in this powerful collection of new tools are long life biodegradable lures, self-reseng traps, thermal cameras, remote communications, and world first AI technology.
PF2050 Limited CEO Rob Forlong says of the milestones achieved so far “More and more we are seeing our earlier projects accomplishing significant goals that are showing us that with community support and innovaon it can be done at widescale on the mainland”.
“Through the sharing of knowledge from these projects to newer projects we are building momentum and able to move at speed as we get closer to the goal”.
“There is no silver bullet, it will take a suite of new technologies, leading research and science, along with social and community engagement, but given how far we have come in such a small amount of time, I believe we will get there”.