Predator-free continues to nab headlines – In the News

Two weeks after an announcement that the Government would aim to make New Zealand “predator free” by 2050, conservation news continues to grab headlines in NZ media.

Hermelin, Mustela erminea, stoatToday’s Catalyst – Fairfax Media’s science page – hosted two predator-free stories. Environmental scientist Dr Jamie Steer wrote in an opinion piece that the “militant” stance implicit in a “war against pests and weeds” would ultimately fail. “Thus from hedgehogs to sandflies, gorse to magpies, wasps to wallabies, if it was introduced and it thrives it’s probably been singled out for combat at some point,” he wrote.

Auckland University conservation biologist Dr James Russell also featured, with a Q&A about how predator free NZ would work.

“The Predator-Free New Zealand concept already had the groundswell of support from all the community groups but the government’s investment and leadership in this area is the final jigsaw piece being put in place to ensure we can move forward as a nation in this direction,” he said.

The predator-free goal also featured on last week’s Our Changing World, with Alison Ballance hosting a summit with Dr Russell, Landcare Research’s Dr Andrea Byrom and eradication expert Peter McClelland.

University of Otago’s Professor Neil Gemmell also spoke to Heather du Plessis-Allan on RadioLive about how genetic technologies could be applied to eradicating predators.

catalyst aug 8