A stoat watching something in front of some rocks.

Stoat personalities: unravelling the mystery of trap-evasion

Why do some stoats get caught in a trap, but others walk on by? Researchers have been diving deep into animal behaviour in an attempt to find out. Manaaki Whenua researchers watched hours and hours of stoat TV, looking into why some are able to evade traps and other devices intended to attract and kill … Continue reading Stoat personalities: unravelling the mystery of trap-evasion

A man in hi-vis hammers a trap into a tree.

This is what happens when you invest in conservation careers

It was launched to create new jobs in the wake of COVID. But the Predator Free Apprentice Programme ended up doing so much more. The first of its kind, the Predator Free Apprentice Programme placed young people into host organisations across the country to train in predator control, wildlife monitoring, and project operations.  Of the … Continue reading This is what happens when you invest in conservation careers

A close up of a kōkako

From one pair to many: these volunteers saved this Auckland kōkako population

When volunteers started helping kōkako in the Hūnua Ranges there was just one breeding pair left. But it wasn’t too late – thirty years later, there are more than 250 pairs. Volunteers who have trekked the Hūnua Ranges to save the last kōkako population in the mainland Auckland region have celebrated 30 years. Thousands of … Continue reading From one pair to many: these volunteers saved this Auckland kōkako population

A trap box in the foreground in an alpine valley.

If you’ve ever thought, “what’s the point?” about nature conservation, this study is for you

We have good news for you in the face of climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and introduced predators. Nature conservation really, actually works, and control of invasive species shows the largest positive impact, according to a new global study. A team of researchers wanted to understand whether the outcomes of conservation actions improved on what … Continue reading If you’ve ever thought, “what’s the point?” about nature conservation, this study is for you

Poison claws and slime assault: 7 nocturnal creatures to delight in this forested estate

A velvety creature rears its head, shoots sticky glue, and then dissolves its prey into a delicious soup. Nearby, a different many-legged critter rustles through the leaf litter, large pincers closing around its prey. When the sun goes down, a whole new world wakes up in this native forest subdivision.  Yes, we said subdivision. Halfway … Continue reading Poison claws and slime assault: 7 nocturnal creatures to delight in this forested estate

Two women smile holding trapping tunnels.

Funding nature: a boost for backyard trapping

As part of our Predator Free Communities Programme, we have funded another 17 groups to amp up their efforts in looking after our wildlife. From Northland to Canterbury, these groups are removing introduced predators, bringing their communities closer together and giving our native species a chance. Groups funded by region Northland Auckland Bay of Plenty Waikato Manawatū-Whanganui … Continue reading Funding nature: a boost for backyard trapping

View of pasture with hills in the distance.

Win-win: farming can help nature thrive and vice versa

Here’s how farmers can dig into practices that make economic sense but also contribute to biodiversity. Many farmers are already tapping into innovative resources, actively sowing the seeds of positive change for on-farm biodiversity.  Breaking ground together Expecting farmers to do it on their own simply won’t work. So, Farming with Native Biodiversity has undertaken … Continue reading Win-win: farming can help nature thrive and vice versa

Yesterday, today and tomorrow: brilliant, badass women of conservation

We have women to thank for Abel Tasman National Park, takahē rediscovery and AI traps, yet often women are invisible in recorded history. Today, we shine a spotlight on some of the spectacular women who shaped – and continue to shape – conservation in Aotearoa New Zealand. Pre-colonial wisdom Due to the deep relationship between … Continue reading Yesterday, today and tomorrow: brilliant, badass women of conservation

Kakaruwai (South Island robin) perched on a boot.

Are curious and friendly robins losing their personalities due to introduced predators?

Robins are one of our most charming daredevils, known for coming close to humans in the bush and even hopping onto boots while foraging for insects. But recently published research suggests our friendly and curious kakaruwai (South Island robin) might be losing their bold personalities in the presence of introduced predators. The boldness test Picture … Continue reading Are curious and friendly robins losing their personalities due to introduced predators?

A predator proof fence on a tropical island

Island time: from the Caribbean to the Chathams

Predator Free Apprentice Cam Maclean’s big OE looked slightly different from the classic Kiwi tradition. Instead of slinging pints in a UK pub or teaching English in Spain, Cam found himself building predator free fences in the Caribbean and caring for critically endangered birds on Aotearoa’s distant outpost. Islands in the sun Cam Maclean’s inaugural … Continue reading Island time: from the Caribbean to the Chathams

A ferret superimposed on a photo of a gannet colony on cliffs overlooking the ocean

Three chicks dead: teamwork catches Muriwai ferret 

A ferret sniffing around petrel burrows and a gannet colony on the west coast of Auckland ignited a race against time to protect the seabirds. The local volunteers sprang into action, successfully intercepting the intruder before it could wipe out nests and chicks on the Muriwai Peninsula. Auckland Council volunteer trapper Michael Lawry was the … Continue reading Three chicks dead: teamwork catches Muriwai ferret 

Kererū snacking on summer fruits

Hatch a plan: 5 ways to kick off your predator free summer

Incorporating predator free activities into your summer is fun and fulfilling, but don’t just take our word for it. Here are five ideas that will fit seamlessly into your quintessential Kiwi summer. BBQ small talk  Any good summer in New Zealand is filled with family BBQs and endless bags of chips, but eventually you might … Continue reading Hatch a plan: 5 ways to kick off your predator free summer

A juvenile kārearea (NZ falcon) inspects a hedgehog in a Whākatane backyard.

5 super cool backyard wildlife encounters of 2023

An entirely subjective and contestable compilation of wonderful wildlife encounters in 2023 — all unfolding right in people’s gardens. Through the combined efforts of predator control, native planting, and responsible pet ownership, native species can safely visit and live within our shared spaces. Now, that’s cool. Tiny amphibians, Coromandel Sara Smerdon is living the ultimate … Continue reading 5 super cool backyard wildlife encounters of 2023

An archey's frog on a fern

A glimmer of hope for Archey’s frog survival in Waikato

Archey’s frogs survived the comet that decimated the dinosaurs – but this walnut-sized pekeketua (frog) is close to extinction on our watch. Could rat control be its saving grace? A recent study published in the NZ Journal of Ecology has unveiled the promising impact of sustained rat control on Archey’s frogs, shedding light on their … Continue reading A glimmer of hope for Archey’s frog survival in Waikato

Kākā sitting on a branch

20 years of predator control quadrupled kākā population near Taupō

Large-scale, frequent and effective introduced predator control helped increase kākā density fourfold and improved the sex ratio. The study, published online in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology, monitored kākā in Pureora Forest Park, 45 km northwest of Taupō. Kākā numbers went from an estimated 640 birds in 2000 to an estimated 2,600 birds in … Continue reading 20 years of predator control quadrupled kākā population near Taupō

Snapshots from the past: 10 years of the Predator Free New Zealand Trust

Join us on a journey through time as we celebrate a decade of achievements with the Predator Free New Zealand Trust, from humble beginnings to conservation milestones. A group of passionate conservationists rallied behind the fact that our generation may be the last to save our unique native bird, bat and insect species before they’re … Continue reading Snapshots from the past: 10 years of the Predator Free New Zealand Trust

People in a field smiling next to freshly planted natives and holding trapping boxes.

Chillest vibes: conservation group members are rich (in social capital)

Research reveals participating in conservation community groups doesn’t just give back to nature; it gives back to you and your community. University of Auckland researchers Rosie Gerolemou, James Russell and Margaret Stanley conducted a study in Auckland delving into the dynamic between community group participation and social capital. They measured differences in self-identified social capital … Continue reading Chillest vibes: conservation group members are rich (in social capital)

Volunteers standing in Whitby with traps and plants.

Funding milestone ignites Predator Free Communities across Aotearoa

Today marks a milestone as we grant an unprecedented $92,000 to support 23 remarkable predator free community initiatives. We select outstanding Predator Free Communities from around the country and give them funding to purchase trapping equipment. These backyard groups make up the heart and soul of the Predator Free 2050 mission. The funding will fuel … Continue reading Funding milestone ignites Predator Free Communities across Aotearoa

A rat in Fiordland surrounded by measuring tools.

Study reveals surprising insights on rat behaviour in NZ forests

If we can understand how invasive species use different habitats, we can better predict how their populations might change due to climate change. In a published paper in Biological Invasions, Joanna Carpenter and colleagues looked at how food availability and temperature affected the distribution and density of ship rats in Aotearoa New Zealand forests.  Spoiler … Continue reading Study reveals surprising insights on rat behaviour in NZ forests

Little spotted kiwi

Unseen threat: sanctuary kiwi exposed to parasitic disease from cat scat

A recent study has found high exposure rates of toxoplasmosis in a kiwi population that does not share its habitat with cats. Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or toxo), a parasite found primarily in cat poop, is a cause of sickness and even death in native wildlife. We’re talking kiwi, kākā, kererū and even Māui and … Continue reading Unseen threat: sanctuary kiwi exposed to parasitic disease from cat scat

A collage of toroa (albatross)

A tour of toroa

More kinds of toroa (albatross) breed in Aotearoa New Zealand, than anywhere else in the world. Get to know them this World Albatross Day and try our quiz. Predator free islands in our subantarctic region stand as the last remaining strongholds for toroa survival worldwide. Their breeding grounds are safe thanks to massive predator eradication … Continue reading A tour of toroa

Animal welfare agencies’ views on cat management 

Recently several animal welfare, conservation organisations and government agencies submitted their thoughts on national cat management. It may be surprising that there was a lot of agreement – here’s what they had to say. Parliament’s Environment Select Committee asked the organisations to share their views on the Petition of Erica Rowlands, requesting the mandatory registration … Continue reading Animal welfare agencies’ views on cat management 

Weasel with a blackbird.

Bird count not body count: weasel study suggests recovery of native species more important than predator kill count

Described as “murderous saveloys with legs”, new research reveals weasels cannot be underestimated as a threat to native wildlife. It is suggested we pay closer attention to the recovery of native species rather than simply counting the number of predators killed. The impact of stoats is well documented, but DOC ranger Jamie McAulay and wildlife … Continue reading Bird count not body count: weasel study suggests recovery of native species more important than predator kill count

A collection of wooden trap tunnels with Predator Free Muriwai stencilled on the back.

Communities unite to rebuild predator control efforts after cyclone

Communities from cyclone-hit areas will receive funding to rebuild their predator control efforts in our latest round of funding.  A slice of $50,000 is on the way to 13 community groups as the grassroots predator control movement grows. Special mention goes out to those communities affected by Cyclone Gabrielle. Amid the chaos, destruction and repairs, … Continue reading Communities unite to rebuild predator control efforts after cyclone

A landscape shot of a wetland.

What if there were giant sponges that could mop up carbon, floods, and house native species?

Muggy, boggy and waiting to be drained – our past opinions on wetlands have not aged well. Wetland restoration could be vital to tackling biodiversity and climate change crises – here’s why. Quantifying the benefits of wetland restoration Humans drained 90% of New Zealand’s wetlands in the name of prosperity, progress and pasture – not … Continue reading What if there were giant sponges that could mop up carbon, floods, and house native species?

A small rifleman perched on a branch.

As native birds flee to high ground to escape predators, will they have enough food to survive?

As climate change and introduced mammals push native birds into higher mountain forests researchers at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research wondered if there was enough food to survive and breed. As Dr Anne Schlesselmann et al. explains in this Journal of Ecology research paper, the answer is complicated and more research needs to be done.  … Continue reading As native birds flee to high ground to escape predators, will they have enough food to survive?

Finn leaning against a truck.

First-class: predator free apprentice graduate becomes second-in-command

Two years ago, Finn Giddy was working his first serious job out of high school digging trenches, unsure of his career prospects. Now, he’s the first graduate of the predator free apprenticeship programme – and his career is off to a roaring start. Reflecting on the journey that brought him to his dream career working … Continue reading First-class: predator free apprentice graduate becomes second-in-command

A spider in a web with hearts around it.

Not creepy, just crawly: spiders are cooler than you think

Spare a little love for spiders. Supposedly scary but mostly misunderstood, these eight-legged creatures are vital to nature. There are more than 2000 species of pūngāwerewere (spider) in Aotearoa New Zealand, and most of them are endemic (i.e. as unique as the kiwi and kākāpō). Look beyond their spooky reputation: here are five reasons why our … Continue reading Not creepy, just crawly: spiders are cooler than you think

Māia crouched inspecting a trap with mountain landscape in background.

Kiwi calling: Predator Free NZ Trust apprentice Māia Gibbs at home on the range

Like many of us, Māia Gibbs grew up never having seen a kiwi in the wild. Now, she gets up close and personal while helping save the kiwi as a Predator Free NZ Trust apprentice.  Holding a fluffy, pear-shaped ball of feathers with strong talons Māia, 21, is living the dream of many in a … Continue reading Kiwi calling: Predator Free NZ Trust apprentice Māia Gibbs at home on the range

Two kererū perched in a tree.

Funding awarded to bring birds and bugs back to backyards

Restoring native wildlife to urban areas is gaining momentum. Another 13 community groups across the motu (country) will receive a portion of $50,000 to realise their trapping dreams.  The Predator Free New Zealand Trust helps outstanding predator free communities buy bait stations, chew cards, and traps and to spread the word in their communities.  Over … Continue reading Funding awarded to bring birds and bugs back to backyards

A kākāpo

Why kākāpō are called kākāpō and other wildlife names

In Aotearoa New Zealand Māori are ‘tangata whenua’ – people of the land. This reflects the importance of te taiao (the environment) to Māori identity, culture, and tikanga.  Te reo Māori is shaped by the unique environment and wildlife. There is a depth of meaning to te reo Māori words. Often a one or two-word … Continue reading Why kākāpō are called kākāpō and other wildlife names