island conservation predator free 2050

Planning and Technology Key to Predator Free 2050

Careful planning and technological innovation are key to the realization of New Zealand’s project: Predator Free 2050.

New Zealand’s first invasive rat eradication took place on a one-hectare island in 1963. Half a century of experience and accumulated wisdom later, the country is rolling out Predator Free 2050, a plan to remove all invasive rats, possums, and stoats by 2050. Invasive species are a widely-recognized issue in New Zealand. The pests threaten native species, ecosystem functioning, agriculture, and the tourism industry.

New Zealand has come far in its pest-management abilities, but the invasive species continue to thrive at the expense of native species and national interests. Richard Griffiths, Project Director with Island Conservation pointed out, “With current techniques, it’s not feasible.”

island conservation takahe

The flightless South Island Takahe, endemic to New Zealand, makes an easy target for invasive species. Credit: Tomas Sobek

To suppress the rise of invasive predators, the country will need to refine their methods and employ new technologies. Fortunately, new technologies are emerging and promise greater efficiency in the years to come. Planning well will be a significant part of the success of the program. Griffiths commented:

You generally have just one chance to get it right. So 90% of the work is planning and logistics.

With good planning and innovative breakthroughs, Predator Free 2050 could very well be a realistic endeavor. New Zealand has come far since it’s first-ever eradication in 1963; the future is bright for the dedicated and optimistic country, and for conservationists mitigating impacts of invasive species around the world.

Featured photo: Kiwi Crossing. Credit: Kristina D.C. Hoeppner
Source: Nature

About Sara Kaiser

Sara received a BA in anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 2014. As a freelance writer and editor, she seeks to produce and highlight stories that support ecological responsibility, body awareness, emotional intelligence, and creative action, and reveal the connections between them.

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