Island conservation predator free NZ_feature

Scientific American Features NZ’s Predator Free 2050 Project

Scientific American features Nature article about NZ’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 nz 2050

The Northland Green Gecko is found only in the Northland region of New Zealand, north of Whangaroa. Credit: Bernard Spragg

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: Antipodean Wandering Albatross Chick on NZ Antipodes Island. Credit: Jason Zito/Island Conservation
Source: Scientific American

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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