Marty Taylor

Predator-free New Zealand

The government has announced a $28-million fund to start a public-private partnership intended to move towards making New Zealand pest free by 2050. Will it work?

History

How did it come to this?

One hundred and fifty years ago, acclimatisation societies forever changed the nature of our nature, introducing exotic creatures for commerce, sport and sentiment.

Science & Environment

Solution: 1080

A single aerial drop of 1080 can kill around 98 per cent of possums and will have a similar success rate on rats. But for all the official assurances of strict controls, things have gone seriously wrong at times.

Living World

At Risk: Fantails

Rats have a soft spot for the taste of pīwakawaka. In some fantail hot spots, more than 60 per cent of nests are predated even before a full clutch of eggs has been laid.

Geography

Pest-free: Mercury Island

Great Mercury was one of the first sites of human habitation in New Zealand. In 2015, a radical new public-private partnership sought to rid the island of pests. It was a unique operation, and the results have been astonishing.

Living World

Pest: The menace of stoats

Stoats were introduced from Britain in the 1880s to control rabbits, and until 1936 they even enjoyed legal protection as a “natural enemy of rabbits”. Yet they were soon implicated in the decline of native species.