Making NZ pest free How we can make New Zealand pest free and save our precious Natives
Early this year, one of New Zealand’s greatest scientists, Sir Paul Callaghan, gave a speech where he put forward what he referred to as a “...crazy and ambitious...” idea. The idea that one day, NZ could be completely predator free. Imagine that...
NZ scientists & conservationists have become world renowned for making islands predator free. The next step could be Stewart Island. Then the North and South Islands. Since human settlement at least 33% of NZ bird species have become extinct Currently, 153 out of a total of about 200 species are threatened with extinction Up to 95% of kiwi chicks, our national icon, are lost where there is no pest control.
In 2005, the 11,000-hectare Campbell Island was declared rat free due to the efforts of the Department of Conservation. Prior to that it had the highest concentration of brown rats in the world. Zealandia, formerly known as the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary, is a protected natural area in Wellington, New Zealand, where the forest is being restored. The sanctuary was previously part of the area for Wellington, between Wrights Hill (bordering Karori) and the Brooklyn wind turbine on Polhill. In 1986, conservation workers removed all rats from 170-hectare Breaksea Island, in Fjordland National Park.
Zealandia Zealandia is NZ’s very own mainland “island”. It is an area 2kms from downtown Wellington which has been enclosed in a special predator-proof fence and cleared of all predators. Many native NZ species have been introduced to the area. It provides a mini version of how NZ could look and sound like if it was predator free. When Captain Cook first came to NZ in the 1770’s he records that the bird song was deafening!