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One step closer to Predator Free 2050

Pukaha Mount Bruce Trapping volunteers.

Launching the Predator Free 2050 Strategy - ‘Towards a Predator Free New Zealand is a major step forward to save thousands of threatened native species and give nature a helping hand, Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage said this morning.

“Without a plan, a Predator Free Aotearoa is only a dream. This strategy will help us go further and faster to give nature a helping hand and save more than 4000 of our native plants and wildlife that are threatened or at risk of extinction,” says Eugenie.

“To do this we need to permanently eradicate their biggest threat: rats, mustelids like stoats and possums.”

“The Strategy, launched today, sets out a structure to achieve the Predator Free goal in the next 30 years, and the action plan describes what we need to do over the next five years.”

The Strategy has three key phases of work “Mobilise, Innovate and Accelerate”

Mobilise - to engage people and resources

Innovate - create or improve predator eradication tools and methods for across rural, urban and natural landscapes, and

Accelerate – rapidly deploy and effectively manage predators throughout the country.

“The Predator Free 2050 Strategy was developed by the Department of Conservation in consultation with iwi, and with input from technical experts, scientists, environmental groups, communities and the public. It draws from matauranga Mā=aori, derived from generations of interactions between people and te taiao, and expertise gained through decades of successfully removing pests from 117 of New Zealand’s offshore islands,” says Eugenie.

“Predator Free 2050 is a world first – there is no map to guide us, and it is an iterative process. The Strategy values learning by doing from large landscape scale projects such as are happening with Tiakina Nga Manu, on offshore islands, on Taranaki Maunga, in Hawke’s Bay, and in the Mackenzie Basin through Te Manahuna Aoraki. It involves changing what we do as we learn more and improve existing tools and methods.

“We have a biodiversity crisis around the world and in New Zealand. In 2018, this Government delivered the biggest boost to Department of Conservation funding since 2002 – which enabled DOC to undertake its biggest ever predator control programme ‘Tiakina Nga Manu’ over more than 800,000 ha. of conservation land to ensure our unique native birds can thrive.

In 2018, the Government approved $81.28 million over four years to suppress predators in specific areas, protect and increase biodiversity on offshore islands, and develop better predator control methods and tools.

North Island kaka. Photo: Sabine Bernert

In 2019, through the Provincial Growth Fund, the Government invested a further $16 million in Predator Free 2050 Limited to expand predator control in regional New Zealand, and a further $3.5 million to fund development of new products which reduce the need for repeated 1080 use.

“New Zealand now has 117 islands which have been declared predator free, thanks to committed work by conservation staff, scientists, and support from philanthropic organisations and volunteers. With 2019 the most successful breeding season for kakapo ever, it is important to develop more safe, predator free areas as homes for kakapo and to enable so many other of Aoteroa’s unique birds, insects, wildlife and plants to thrive.

“A future Aotearoa, flourishing with abundant native wildlife and forests, is the bold vision that has galvanized thousands of New Zealanders to get stuck in and work towards a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050.

“Not everyone can roll up their sleeves and get involved on the ground doing the predator trapping or aerial control but everyone can support healthy indigenous nature by recognising the need to control and eradicate pests such as possum, stoats and rats,” says Eugenie Sage.

Self setting trap. 

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