Our Activity Report
October 17, 2022 3:24 pm
This month we took the opportunity to send an activity report to the International Union of Conservationists Network (IUCN) – the world’s largest environmental network where thousands of experts share ideas and the latest developments in conservation actions, science and research.
We are, of course, just one piece of the predator free puzzle. The Department of Conservation and PFNZ Trust also play major roles in driving the movement forward, but this report focuses solely on our activities.
We are now deep into the proof of concept phase for the Predator Free 2050 programme and have made some big strides as a company to date. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but in the five years during which we’ve been fully operational we have already helped deliver some big results.
There are now 17 landscape projects that are either underway or in development across Aotearoa. Right now, we have 451,000 hectares being managed for predator eradication but, all going well, these projects would cover more than 750,000 hectares by June 2024 – basically the equivalent of Taranaki.
Some of the early success stories noted in our report include Wellington, Waiheke, Taranaki, South Westland, Dunedin and Hawkes’ Bay, each of whom has had success in tackling at least one of the big three predators on our list (possums, rats and mustelids). Through these projects, we’ve gained vital knowledge about the tools and techniques that work in different rural and urban environments, and discovered how passionate communities are to lead this work in their own backyards..
We estimate we have created demand for 1,500,000 new tools from our current landscape project investments. To meet this demand we initiated the Products to Projects programme. Our first tranche of investment in 2019 went into the development of six new traps, three long-life lures and lure dispensers, four communication and image recognition devices, and two toxin formulation and application projects. Seven of these products are already in use in the field, and we expect to have another 11 on the way.
We are also investing heavily in new science and so far have funded 42 scientific projects and research studies covering everything from the social and ethical challenges of the overall PF2050 goal through to mapping out the genome of our targeted predators and potential world-first genetic techniques. We need to find possible solutions, then we can work out how, or if, we should employ them.
Over the next few years we aim to keep building an evidence base of what works and what doesn’t. Ideally, we can start to clear and defend larger and larger areas. By the end of this decade, our goal is to have a fully-costed plan on how we can achieve the 2050 target. While we have a long way to go, it’s exciting to see how far we’ve already come.
The full report is now available. It’s a quick read, we promise.