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Why should Aotearoa New Zealand be predator free by 2050?
Aotearoa New Zealand is home to many unique and ancient species of birds, frogs, lizards and plants. Our animal and plant life is distinct because we have been geologically isolated for 85 million years since we split from the supercontinent of Gondwana.
Many of our species are found nowhere else on Earth and this isolation makes them vulnerable to introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums.
Making NZ predator free by 2050 will allow our native wildlife to flourish once more.
The Predator Free 2050 mission is focused on the complete removal of five most damaging predators: rats, stoats, ferrets, weasels and possums. Other introduced predators such as hedgehogs and feral cats also have an impact on our native flora and fauna.
Predator Free 2050 has already been a catalyst for action. Individuals, hapū, families and communities have been quick to embrace the goal.
Our national map shows the predator control work being undertaken throughout the country by local community groups, hapū, iwi and private landowners as well as DOC, OSPRI and regional councils.
Why is Predator Free 2050 so important?
Firstly, we’ll protect our precious native species, improve our biodiversity, create greater ecological resilience and restore our unique ecosystems.
We’ll provide a legacy for future generations and our natural spaces provide us with a unique and unrivalled way of life. It’s becoming more difficult to show our children and grandchildren the environment we grew up in and the range of wildlife our ancestors experienced 100 years ago no longer exists.
We’ll attract visitors to New Zealand seeking to experience our unique wildlife and pristine landscapes.
There are immediate benefits too. Being part of community conservation and outside in natural surroundings can improve health and volunteering as part of a group strengthens communities.
Importantly, both rural and urban communities have a vested interest in the goal.
We believe a predator free New Zealand can provide common ground for all New Zealanders.
Who are the key players?
- The Predator Free NZ Trust (that’s us!) — we are an independent charitable organisation established to encourage, support and connect New Zealanders in getting involved in the predator free movement.
- The Department of Conservation — DOC provides leadership to the Predator Free 2050 programme. Their Predator Free Rangers provide regional support to predator free projects.
- Predator Free 2050 Ltd is a company set up by the government to invest in large landscape scale projects and breakthrough research.
- There is strong support from farmers and primary industries. Amongst others, OSPRI, Federated Farmers, and the Ministry for Primary Industries are all involved in predator free work.
- ‘Breakthrough research’ is being undertaken through multiple agencies, including New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, The Cacophony Project, Zero Invasive Predators and many universities.
- Iwi and hapu are involved at every level of the Predator Free movement, from advising on strategic direction to implementing their own projects. Poutiri Ao ō Tāne and Taranaki Mounga are examples of two landscape scale projects that iwi are heavily involved in.
- Local and regional councils are increasingly taking on the predator free goal, e.g. Auckland Council as part of the Pest Free Hauraki Gulf.
- NGOs like Forest & Bird and WWF, charities like Save The Kiwi and the Sanctuaries of New Zealand are focusing effort and resources on a predator free future. The Next Foundation is a leading investor in predator free initiatives, including Project Janzoon in Abel Tasman National Park, and the Taranaki Mounga Project.