Yesterday’s announcement from the Prime Minister that New Zealand aims to be “predator-free” by 2050 has got everyone talking. The Government will spend $28 million over four years to supplement what local bodies and other organisations are doing in pest eradication.
John Key’s announcement, along with a follow-up news release, refers to the eradication of three species: rats, stoats and possums.
I find this confusing, as we all know that there are several other introduced predators – including ferrets, weasels, mice and feral or roaming cats – and indeed some media reports would have us believe that those species are also being targeted by the Government. Let’s hope things become clearer soon.
Regardless, wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a predator-free New Zealand in just a few decades? Think of the resurgence in native wildlife or, to put it in terms used by the PM, think of the NZ$3.3 billion per year in savings to the New Zealand economy.
Responsible pet ownership has to be part of New Zealand’s pest-control programme. We acknowledge that not every cat owner is willing or able to keep their cat indoors – but confining a cat to its own property is achievable, using a range of approaches, one of which is the Oscillot cat fence system.
Let’s show New Zealand that cats and their owners will do their part to make our country predator-free. And we are not waiting for 2050!
The Guardian: No more rats: New Zealand to exterminate all introduced predators
Washington Post: New Zealand vows to kill every weasel, rat and feral cat on its soil
Audio: Geoff Simmons of the Morgan Foundation discusses the programme with Jessie Mulligan on RNZ radio
26 July 2016