Possum scavenges an egg at a New Zealand pigeon/kereru nest
Image: Nga Manu images ©

Introduction

Learn about predator threats and the benefits of a predator-free New Zealand.

Predator Free 2050 will deliver huge benefits for the health of our natural environment, our people and our economy.

Watch the video to learn why our native wildlife is so susceptible to introduced mammals.

Why rats, stoats and possums?

Rats, stoats, and possums kill about 25 million native birds every year. They are the most damaging mammalian pests that threaten New Zealand’s natural taonga, economy and primary sector.

  • Rats threaten the survival of many native species such as wētā, snails, lizards and birds. They eat almost anything, including our native species and their food sources. They are common agricultural, industrial and domestic pests, causing a lot of economic damage and posing a risk to human health.
  • 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. They attack defenceless young kiwi and contribute to the continuing decline of mainland kiwi populations.
  • Possums eat many native species including snails and beetles as well as native birds. They decimate forest canopies and compete directly with native birds such as kiwi for food and resources. Possums spread bovine tuberculosis to cattle and deer, resulting in high costs and lost productivity. They also harm horticulture and commercial forestry crops.

Benefits of going predator free

Environment benefits

  • We’ll preserve our threatened species, improve our biodiversity, create greater ecological resilience and restore our unique ecosystems.

Cultural and social benefits

  • We’ll provide a legacy for future generations. 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 strengthen our national identity. Our natural spaces provide us with a unique and unrivalled way of life. 
  • We’ll feel better and more connected. The exercise and natural surroundings enjoyed by volunteer conservationists improves health, and group involvement strengthens communities. 

Economic benefits

  • We’ll save the $70 million per year that it currently costs to manage rats, stoats and possums.
  • We’ll reduce costs and losses from damage and disease in our agricultural and forestry industries.
  • We’ll boost revenue and employment in our tourism and trade industries as New Zealand become more admired for its unique wildlife and pristine landscapes.
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