Latest Research from Home and Abroad
March 10, 2022 12:36 pm
Research being conducted both at home and abroad is aiding the Predator Free mission in innovative ways. We share the latest results below.
New Zealand Garden and Bird have completed a new paper on the use of citizen science biodiversity assessment data, including integration into their project by PF Dunedin.
The NZGBS paper is now available online. Updated dashboard
Invasive species are a significant threat to biodiversity worldwide, especially to island nations such as New Zealand. Emerging technologies, such as gene drive and pest-specific toxins have the potential to mitigate the decline.
However, novel technologies are often met with public apprehension and perceived as high-risk. Therefore if novel technologies for pest management are to move beyond the laboratory, the largest hurdle may be public opinion.
Eleven focus groups were held throughout Aotearoa to explore three questions about novel technologies (gene drive and two others for comparison of pest control tools): (1) what are the risks/benefits? (2) how do they compare to current methods? and (3) who should be represented on a panel that evaluates the tools and what factors should they consider?
The helicopter application of the toxin sodium fluoroacetate (1080) is a common method for controlling invasive mammals. However, the application of 1080 using current methods leaves some surviving mammals, meaning eradication cannot be achieved. A new application method, called 1080-to-zero, aims to eradicate target mammals or reduce them to near-zero levels. This study monitored the response of invasive black rats (Rattus rattus) to a 1080-to-zero application and a standard 1080 application.
The attractiveness of body odours of captive stoats was tested in a series of captive animal and extensive field trials to investigate their potential as trapping and monitoring lures.
New collapsible wire box traps have been designed and tested, comparing the efficacy of a food-based bait and a scent lure. This was then compared to catch rates in different seasons of the year. The data model was used to measure the efficiency rate of the trapping and to determine the trapping effort required to remove 70–90% of the estimated discrete mink population.