Aotearoa is home to many unique and ancient species of birds, frogs, lizards and plants. Our biodiversity is so distinct because we have been geologically isolated for 85 million years, since splitting from the supercontinent of Gondwana.
Many of our species are found nowhere else on Earth and this isolation also makes them vulnerable to introduced predators such as rats, stoats, cats and possums.
Making NZ predator free by 2050 will allow our native wildlife to flourish once more.
This aspirational vision focuses on the complete removal of rats, stoats, and possums. Though other introduced predators also have an impact on our native flora and fauna, these three have been identified as the most damaging introduced mammalian predators to our natural taonga. Find out more about the impact of these introduced predators here.
Benefits of going predator free
A lot of New Zealanders are passionate about protecting their unique native wildlife and the Predator Free vision will bring many benefits to Aotearoa.
Firstly, we’ll protect our precious species, improve our biodiversity, create greater ecological resilience and restore our unique ecosystems.
We’ll provide a legacy for future generations. Our natural spaces provide us with a unique and unrivaled 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 out in the natural surroundings can improve health, and volunteering as a group strengthens communities. Importantly, both rural and urban communities have a vested interest in the goal. We believe predator free New Zealand can provide common ground for all New Zealanders.
Predator Free 2050 brings together central and local government, iwi, philanthropists, non-government organisations (like us), businesses, science and research organisations, communities, landowners and individuals. Achieving this ambitious goal will be a team effort by everyone.
- The Predator Free NZ Trust (that’s us!) — we are a private 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 and their Tiakina Ngā Manu programme is aimed at protecting our most at-risk native animals on public land. They are involved in the implementation of Maukahuka: Pest Free Auckland Island and Manahura Aoraki.
- Predator Free 2050 Ltd is a company set up by the government to invest in large landscape scale projects and breakthrough research. By mid-year 2019 PF 2050 Ltd had funded five large-scale projects.
- 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, see the work of Auckland Council as part of the Pest Free Hauraki Gulf.
- NGOs like Forest & Bird and WWF, charities like Kiwis for 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.