Q: How do I find out about backyard trapping and finding a community group?
The Predator Free New Zealand Trust supports volunteers, community and farmer groups. Check out their guide to getting started here.
The Department of Conservation’s Predator Free 2050 Toolbox publishes guidance for community groups, including beginner tips, trap and bait profiles, how-tos and funding resources. See here.
Q: Where did the idea of a Predator Free New Zealand originate?
Our cultural and national identities are drawn from the unique plants and animals found here.
Māori have highlighted the significance of these taonga and the importance of acting as kaitiaki for them in reports and forums over many years, including through the Waitangi Tribunal’s Wai 262 claim.
The idea of a predator free New Zealand and setting a national goal for achieving it by 2050 has been incubating for a long time.
Over a century ago conservation pioneers were taking kākāpō and kiwi to offshore islands to save them from the ravages of stoats and rats.
Leaders like Sir Paul Callaghan, Sir Rob Fenwick, Gareth Morgan and Dame Anne Salmond have helped build today’s predator free movement of dedicated community and individual trappers, conservation advocates, council workers, scientists, funders and inventors.
In 2016 the New Zealand Government announced a national goal to make New Zealand predator free by 2050.
Q: Why is our native wildlife so vunerable?
New Zealand’s plants and animals evolved in isolation from other land masses, humans and mammalian predators for millions of years. Many are found nowhere else in the world.
Flightlessness is one characteristic contributing to their uniqueness. Many are also very long-lived, have slow breeding rates, small clutch sizes and large eggs. Several species are nocturnal, and others have relatively large body sizes.
Birds like kiwi, kakapo, kokako, kaka, kereru, toutouwai, tieke and species of native bats, reptiles, snails and insects cannot co-exist with the millions of introduced possums, stoats and rats that have invaded our landscapes over the past few centuries.
See why in this video.
Only on predator-free islands, in fenced sanctuaries and within areas under regular predator control can many of our wildlife species survive and thrive.
Q: How serious is the threat to our native birds and wildlife?
Recent reports from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment and the Department of Conservation have made the situation very clear.
• 4000 of our native species are classified as in some trouble
• 1000 are classified as in serious trouble and/or facing risk of extinction
• More than 50 bird species have become extinct in the 750 years since human arrival
• Four out of every five birds are in trouble – and some sit on the brink of extinction.
• Possums, rats and stoats are the main mammalian predators putting them at risk.
Q: Is the Predator Free 2050 goal attainable?
We think so. We are working hard to activate large landscape projects, accelerate research and development and make new products available in the field.
The predator free movement builds on the efforts already underway across communities, iwi, private businesses, philanthropists, scientists and government.
We don’t currently have the technology to achieve a predator free New Zealand, but investment is being put into developing breakthrough eradication technologies.
The alternative is to accept that much of our wildlife will be forever confined to offshore islands and small fenced sanctuaries.
Q: Can my community group apply for funding from Predator Free 2050 Limited?
We are not currently calling for Expressions of Interest in new projects as we have fully committed our funding to get seven large landscape projects started covering 3,907 sq km of New Zealand.
These are ambitious, long-term projects, with funding commitments of five years or more.
There are various funding sources for community groups and landowners listed here.
Q: What do you expect to achieve by 2025?
Predator Free 2050 Limited is working to help meet the interim goals government has set for 2025:
• Increase by 1 million hectares the area of mainland New Zealand where predators are suppressed.
• Demonstrate that predator eradication can be achieved in areas of mainland New Zealand of at least 20,000 hectares without the use of fences.
• Achieve eradication of all mammalian predators from New Zealand’s island nature reserves.
• Develop a breakthrough science solution capable of eradicating at least one small mammal predator from the New Zealand mainland.
Q: Do your projects use 1080?
Because our funded projects are on urban and farmed landscapes aerially applied 1080 is not used.
Most of our projects are reliant on trapping and associated remote monitoring and surveillance technologies.
1080 is an important tool for the control of predators in remote forested areas. Information about its use can be found on the Department of Conservation website.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s reports on the use of 1080 are available here.
Q: Will you be using gene drives?
Predator Free 2050 Limited is currently keeping a watching brief on developments in gene editing technologies.
The Royal Society has published a discussion document on the use of gene editing for pest control.
Our funding of research is guided by Predator Free 2050 Limited’s Research Strategy.
Q: Are you targeting cats?
Cats are not one of the target species for Predator Free 2050 Limited.
However, feral cats are a serious predator and pose risks to native wildlife. Information about feral cats can be found on the Department of Conservation website.
Some projects we support are targeting wild cats within their programme of work.
Guides for responsible pet ownership are published by Forest and Bird and by councils.