Haast tokoeka kiwi
Image: Barry Harcourt ©

Introduction

An ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of the most damaging introduced predators that threaten our nation’s natural taonga, our economy and primary sector.

Highlights

Ridding New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050 is a New Zealand-wide goal. It will require new techniques and a co-ordinated team effort across communities, iwi, and the public and private sectors.

Predator Free 2050 will deliver huge benefits across New Zealand – for the social and cultural links with our environment, for our regional economies through primary industries and tourism and for our threatened native species.

How you can get involved

Building from a strong base

New Zealand is a world leader in conservation technology and research. We have already made progress that was once unthinkable because of:

  • tens of thousands of committed community volunteers and private landowners who are already working on habitat protection
  • philanthropic and community-led initiatives, including fenced sanctuaries, large-scale predator control projects like Cape to City in the Hawke's Bay and Project Janszoon in Abel Tasman National Park, and predators being targeted across whole suburbs
  • significant investment in predator management by regional councils and OSPRI
  • new predator control techniques such as self-resetting traps and we are developing predator-specific toxins
  • continual refinement of existing techniques to make them safer and more cost effective (eg GPS guided aerial application of 1080). 

We have cleared all predators from more than 100 islands, and trials are under way to secure mainland sites.

A goal that can be achieved 

Predator Free 2050 builds on the efforts already underway across communities, iwi, private businesses, philanthropists, scientists and government.

Although we don't have the technology now to achieve a predator-free New Zealand, Predator Free 2050 will provide a focus on developing breakthrough predator control tools and techniques and forging the networks needed to make the vision happen.

The Government is showing its commitment with an additional $28m of Crown funding over 4 years and $7m per year thereafter. This is on top of over $70 million already spent each year on predator control by government, regional councils, OSPRI, businesses, iwi, communities and others.

DOC is the government agency responsible for facilitating the overall Predator Free 2050 programme and ensuring the public and private sectors are connected.

Predator Free 2050 Ltd

The Predator Free 2050 Ltd company is responsible for directing a significant amount of Crown investment into the Predator Free 2050 Programme, with a focus on breakthrough science and large scale predator control and eradication initiatives.

The board of Predator Free 2050 Ltd will select large landscape projects for funding via an Expressions of Interest (EOI) and a Requests for Proposals (RFP) process.

Find out how to lodge an Expressions of Interest.

Why Predator Free 2050 is important

Rats, stoats and possums kill millions of native birds every year and have pushed species to the brink of extinction. Managing just these three predators for agriculture and conservation costs over $70 million each year. In 2016/17 the government invested $20 million on top of this to protect species from an increase in predators caused by heavy seeding (or ‘masting’) of beech forests.

Predator Free 2050 will:

  • remove the major threats to our native wildlife
  • enhance economic return from agriculture and forestry and reduce risk of disease
  • create new opportunities for regional development
  • reinforce New Zealand’s trade and tourism brand
  • provide a legacy for future generations.

Predator illustration.

Rats

Rats have been introduced across the globe by human activities. They threaten the survival of many native species from invertebrates like wētā and snails to lizards and birds.

Rats eat almost anything which makes them a direct threat and in direct competition with native wildlife. They are common agricultural, industrial and domestic pests and cause a lot of economic damage as well as posing a risk to human health.

Possums

Introduced from Australia, possums eat many native species including snails and beetles as well as native birds. Possums decimate forest canopies and compete directly with native birds like kiwi for food and resources.

Possums spread bovine tuberculosis to cattle and deer, resulting in high costs and lost productivity, and also harm horticulture and commercial forestry crops.

Stoats

Stoats are one of the mustelid family (along with ferrets and weasels) which were introduced to manage rabbit plagues and found an unwanted place in New Zealand’s landscape.

Stoats have caused the extinction of several New Zealand bird species and are the major cause of decline for many other species, including reptiles and invertebrates.

Stoats attack defenceless young kiwi and contribute to the continuing decline of mainland kiwi populations.

Download a brochure

Predator Free 2050 brochure (PDF, 743K)

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