Our native species

Our precious taonga are the reason this movement exists. These webinars highlight our wonderful species and projects that focusing on their protection:

Nurturing our natives at Dunedin Wildlife Hospital

The Dunedin Wildlife Hospital treats 600 patients annually – all native species, some of which are very rare and endangered. Join us as Jordana Whyte from the Dunedin Wildlife Hospital discusses her team’s work, gives us a behind-the-scenes tour in pictures and shares stories of some memorable patients.

A land of lizards

Did you know we have over 110 different species of native lizards and we’re still discovering more? Carey Knox is a native lizard expert based in Central Otago. He has undertaken targeted searches for rare lizards and discovered new populations throughout New Zealand. Watch this webinar to find out more about these special creatures and what finding a new species entails.

Bird of the year is a bat — go figure!

The official winner of Bird of the Year was announced this week and it’s not a bird. The pekapeka-tou-roa long-tailed bat beat all the feathered frontrunners with the highest number of votes ever and won by 3,000 votes! Ben Paris, also known as NZ Batman, has been on a mission over the past decade to raise the awareness of our only native land mammals. We asked Ben what everyday NZ’ers can do to help protect them.

‘Every bird sighting counts’ The NZ Bird Atlas

Find out how you can make a difference and help our unique bird species in Aotearoa. In the webinar, Dan and Pat from the New Zealand Bird Atlas tell us about the Atlas project and how you can be involved.

If you plant it, they will come

Rod Morris, a well-known NZ wildlife photographer, film and documentary maker, shows us the many native creatures thriving in his backyard after predator control work has been done.

Rod has also been involved in many conservation initiatives, including takahē recovery, searches in Fiordland for kākāpō, and rescue missions to save the Chatham Island black robin.

Protecting our tiny and precious native frogs

New Zealand only has four species of native frog left – Archey’s, Hochstetter’s, Maud Island and Hamilton – and they are all teetering on the edge of extinction. Did you know they don’t have a tadpole stage or croak like other frog species? Dr Rebecca Stirnemann tells us more about them and what you can do to help them survive.

Here is an information sheet on the Hochstetter’s frog (PDF, 714KB).

Where to next for kākāpō?

The kākāpō has been saved from extinction by New Zealand’s longest running species conservation effort and some of the world’s most intensive conservation management.

But as the population grows, it’s future is still uncertain. Already facing huge fertility and disease problems, there’s a new challenge: finding enough predator free habitat for these unique birds.

Dr Andrew Digby from the Kākāpō Recovery Team shares his experience of saving one of our most treasured birds. 

Kākāpō Recovery Team Facebook pagewebsite and Twitter.

So you want to be a bat-spotter?

Ben Paris, also known as New Zealand Batman, is a real life conservation superhero. By day he works at Auckland Council but come night time he is NZ’s greatest champion for our only native land mammals.

Ben talks about our native bats, their threats and what he’s been doing with the community in Auckland.

Other information:

Tools and techniques

Keen to learn more about the latest tools and hear tips straight from the trapping experts? These webinars are a great place to start:

Fine tuning your predator control

Do you want some tips and tricks on increasing the effectiveness of predator control for your project or community group? Join Cam Speedy, a wildlife biologist with over 40 years of experience in predator control and ecosystem management. In the webinar, Cam shares some of his experiences to help make your predator control more effective. Having kit sitting out there that pests encounter but don’t interact with is an increasing issue we can’t afford if we want to achieve a predator free by 2050.

Rabbit control could help us towards a predator free future

Mostly we get rid of introduced predators by, well – killing predators. It works, up to a point. But if you can’t get rid of every single rat or stoat then the few survivors suddenly find themselves with ample food supplies and very little competition. They breed and they breed very successfully. Numbers climb rapidly again, particularly in the case of rats.

So what’s the solution?

The answer may be in what they eat. In many, if not most cases, predator numbers are thought to be controlled by food availability. Prey is the limiting factor. It’s what’s known as a bottom up system. Predators don’t control prey. It’s the other way around. Prey controls predator numbers.

Feral cats, ferrets and stoats all prey on native wildlife and we certainly don’t want to start limiting the number of native wildlife we have. But for each of those predators, their main and ‘natural’ prey is actually another introduced mammal. In open grassland such as Central Otago, feral cats and ferrets prey mainly on rabbits and are limited by the rabbit population. Stoats are limited by rat availability. Rats and mice in turn, thrive where there is plenty of seed.

From Products to Projects with Predator Free 2050 Limited

Thanks to funding from the Government’s Jobs for Nature Mahi mō te Taiao programme and the Provincial Growth Fund, Predator Free 2050 Limited (PF2050 Ltd) has been able to invest $11.3 million in funding for 15 companies developing predator eradication tools and ‘best practice’ for their use. The ‘Products to Projects’ initiative was launched in 2019 to accelerate development and commercialisation of new tools that will help groups working to achieve mainland eradication of possums, rats and mustelids at landscape scale without the use of fences.  Now 3 years later, Olivia Rothwell joins us discuss what tools they are funding, when they will be available for purchase and give background on the development process which is critical to the products’ success in the field. 

Emerging technologies for predator control and what to do about feral cats

Dr Helen Blackie from Boffa Miskell talks about some of the latest technologies to control introduced predators in Aotearoa New Zealand — including resetting traps and cameras using artificial intelligence for species recognition. She shares tips to help improve your predator control, and address one of the trickier questions facing many involved in conservation  — what can we do to better control feral cats?

Genomics, Stoats, and Predator Free New Zealand

In this talk Dr Veale describes some of his recent work focusing on how genomics may assist us achieve our goal of controlling and potentially eradicating invasive predators from Aotearoa.

Genomes contain vast quantities of information about how to make an organism, what it’s evolutionary history is, and how it’s populations interact with the environment. This information has the potential to be used by conservation managers to help us understand their ecology, and to help us manage their populations.

Starter’s Guide to Predator Control on Farms

Introduced predators (rats, mice, possums, stoats, ferrets and weasels) create havoc on farms. They eat crops, spread diseases including bovine TB and Leptospirosis, damage equipment, and harm native plants and wildlife. They also breed fast: one pregnant rat can result in 400 more rats in just six months. In the webinar Cam Speedy, a predator control expert, discusses how predator control can make a significant difference on your land.

Hedgehog control in the Mackenzie Basin Nick Foster

Nick Foster talks about his research on the movement and habitat use of hedgehogs in upland areas and how tracking hedgehogs with GPS devices has informed the 2500 ha eradication trial that is currently underway in the Te Manahuna Project area.

Nick is from the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago and has been attaching small transmitting “backpacks” onto hedgehogs in alpine areas of the Mackenzie Basin.

New techniques and tools for stoat and ferret control

Helen Blackie from Boffa Miskell explains how to use landscape features to optimise the placement of traps and monitoring tools to increase encounter rates. Helen also provides insights into new emerging tools for control, such as artificially intelligent traps and automated lure dispensers.

The evolution of possum control from the 90’s till now

Possums are a serious threat to our forests and native wildlife. So what is the best strategy for controlling them? Darren Peters shares 30 years of possum management expertise.

Using cameras & artificial intelligence for monitoring

Cameras are used to monitor the abundance and distribution of wild animals. However, checking the images can be extremely time consuming. Artificial intelligence can automate this process.

Al Glen from Manaaki Whenua discusses using cameras and how they ‘trained’ computer models to improve accuracy. He also covers other emerging developments, such as thermal cameras and ‘smart traps’. 

New detection devices, lures, toxins and traps

A number of exciting new predator control tools are currently in development and they could change predator control significantly for all of us.

From long life lures to highly accurate detection devices and species specific toxins — the future is looking bright.  Helen Blackie from Boffa Miskell talks about the range of tools in the pipeline.

Maintaining zero predators

Once introduced predators are removed from a defined area how can they be prevented from reinvading and re-establishing a population? Use of a variety of barriers — both natural and ‘virtual’ — along with sensitive detection and response tools are all options being explored by Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP).

ZIP was established to develop innovative technologies that completely remove rats, possums and stoats from large mainland areas and then defend those areas from reinvasion. A model they call Remove and Protect.

Phil Bell, ZIP’s Innovation Director, discusses some of the tools and technologies they have been exploring to defend an area from reinvasion.

Tailor your trap network – project design and layout

Find out how to design an effective trap network for stoats and rats.

Goodnature’s Technical Expert, Sam Gibson, shares his experience, tips and tricks.

Sam’s role includes going by helicopter or boat to remote areas to layout traps. He gets to trap in some of New Zealand’s most extraordinary locations including the Hollyford Valley, Raukumara Ranges and Pomona Island.

AT220 for possums and rats

The AT220 self resetting trap was one of five ‘products to projects initiatives’ that recently received funding from Predator Free 2050 Ltd. Made by NZ Autotraps, it works for rats, possums and mice.

The trap self-resets up to 100 times with 6 months between services and features auto-rebaiting, daylight deactivation and night time reactivation. It also meets NAWAC guidelines.

Kevin Bain and Haydn Steel share their knowledge and expertise.

Expert trapping tips

Cam Speedy from Wildlife Management Associates has over 40 years of experience in predator, threatened species and ecosystem management.

‘Attention-to-detail’ is Cam’s number one tip for trapping. He believes if you just ‘plonk’ trapping kit in the bush with little thought, it’s a waste of your time. Ineffective kit sitting around, catching nothing and rotting in our forests is an increasing issue we can’t afford if we want to achieve a predator free NZ by 2050.

Join Cam as he shares his vast knowledge and expertise.

Community engagement

Working with a community and wanting to up your game? These webinars share expert knowledge on engaging with a community:

Eradication — we’ve all got a role

Biz Bell discusses her experience of international eradication projects and local predator free community projects across Aotearoa New Zealand.

Biz is an expert in predator control, dedicated to community based conservation projects so they have the skills and resources needed to achieve positive outcomes for species and habitats.

Engaging communities with social media expert Liz Carlson

A webinar on using social media to share stories and grow communities in a way that gets people talking. Social media expert, Liz Carlson has shared her tips on how community groups can use social media to grow, reach new eyeballs and engage with people.

Liz has kindly shared some information with you all and it’s titled ‘Strategy and social media: develop your unique voice and start building (PDF, 224KB)‘.

Liz Carlson runs Young Adventuress, one of the most popular travel blogs in the world, with a following in the millions. Liz is a respected leader in digital marketing and social influencing who cares deeply about sharing conservation stories in a way that inspires action and creates impact.

How to engage a community

Dan Henry has been a Miramar (Wellington) local for over 15 years and there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.

In 2017, he set up Predator Free Miramar and encouraged the community to start backyard trapping. Three years later, there are over 1,400 traps in the area. They have caught a whopping 10,000 introduced predators and kaka and kākāriki have been seen doing flybys in their suburb.

Dan shares his knowledge in this webinar.

Dan has also written a resource called ‘How to kill rats and engage a community‘ (PDF, 8MB). Despite the title, this is not an instruction manual on how another group should proceed; what makes these projects so great is that there’s no one way of doing it.

This is simply, to the best of Dan’s recollection, the story of what they did at Predator Free Miramar, recorded here in the hope that it might provide some help for other trapping groups starting out.

You can contact Dan through the PF Miramar Facebook page or website.

Predator Free projects

Across the country there are some impressive projects working towards the Predator Free vision. These webinars share just a few of these stories:

Waiheke Island — a world first?

Waiheke Island has an ambition to be the world’s first predator free urban island.

There are no possums on the island and stoat eradication is currently underway. It’s a big challenge with 9,000 permanent residents and over one million tourists every year.

Mary Frankham and Paul Kviecinskas share the challenges and data complexities of this project.

Predator Free Waiheke website and Facebook.

Tailoring your approach to suit the landscape

Taranaki Taku Tūranga — Towards Predator Free Taranaki is an inspirational project that aims to protect and enhance the region’s precious taonga by removing rats, possums and mustelids (stoats, ferrets and weasels).

The project works across a range of land types in the region including farmland, urban land, public parks, reserves and also connects with the Taranaki Mounga project.

Toby Shanley discusses their project and how they’ve tailored their approach to three distinct project areas; rural, urban and the Kaitake range. He covers the tools and technologies, challenges and the progress they have made.

Predator Free Wellington — Creating an urban environment for nature

Predator Free Wellington started out with an incredibly ambitious goal to eradicate every rat, stoat and weasel on the Miramar Peninsula.

There are around 3,000 households and businesses hosting a bait station or trap on their property on the peninsula. This is an area of 1,200 ha where over 20,000 people work, live and play.

Predator Free Wellington Project Director, James Willcocks, shares his knowledge.