Pest-free New Zealand project: Can it be done?


July 28, 2016

The New Zealand government plans to implement a new project to eliminate the entire nation of introduced invasive species by 2050. The prime minister, John Key, made the announcement for the world’s first project of its kind.

“Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums,” Key says in a statement.

The Predator Free New Zealand project aims to wipe out the introduced species of rats, stoats and possums that are a threat to endemic birds and other native species, the Guardian reports, citing that many are “excited” about the “ambitious” plan.

According to the Guardian, current adopted pest-control methods include trapping, ground baiting and and possum hunting by ground hunters, which has led to a thriving possum fur industry.

“The biggest challenge will be the rats and mice in urban areas,” Mick Clout, emeritus professor of conservation at the University of Auckland, tells the magazine. “For this project to work it will need the urban communities to get on board. Possum extermination will be the easiest because they only breed once a year and there are already effective control methods in place.”

Editor’s Note: What are your thoughts on this “ambitious” plan? Can the government rid all of these pests completely, even by 2050? How? Comment below.


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  1. Richard says:

    Great idea, but complete elimination is most impossible. The program will start out working great, but as time and the populations grow much smaller, people will lose interest in following up on the program. At that point people will have to actively go looking for the rodents to eliminate them. I wish them the best of Luck and would like to see follow ups on the progress in the future.