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Ten-fold increase in predator control great

Ten-fold increase in predator control great for our native species

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage has announced an increase in conservation funding that will enable nearly ten times more of New Zealand's conservation forests to be managed for predators.

“This funding for the Department of Conservation is absolutely critical for the survival of our native species. We’ve been asking for this for years,” says Forest & Bird Chief Conservation Adviser Kevin Hackwell.

“Our native birds, bats, lizards, and insects are killed in huge numbers by introduced predators like stoats, rats, and possums.”

The funding increase will allow DOC to sustain 1.8 million hectares of predator control after four years.

“The maximum area DOC has ever been able to cover was 840,000 hectares in 2016, and that was a one-off funding boost responding to a major beech mast year when there was a predator crisis,” says Mr Hackwell.

“Normal annual predator management by DOC has covered only around 200,000 hectares. Since DOC will now be able to sustain predator control in 1.8 million hectares, this funding effectively increases DOC’s pest management area by nearly ten times.”

At the end of four years, about one-third of DOC’s forests will have regular pest management.

“That's a good start, but there will still be plenty of forgotten places where our amazing native species will be killed by unmanaged predators.”

Over 80 percent of our birds and 88 percent of our lizards are threatened with extinction. In areas without pest control four out of five kiwi chicks don’t survive the first year.

“We’re looking forward to seeing what else DOC will get in Budget 2018. Hopefully they’ll see a significant boost to frontline operational and technical staff, who are on the ground protecting our forests and animals,” says Mr Hackwell.

Notes for Journalists:

DOC’s Battle for Our Birds operations, responding to beech mast events, have been funded by one-off emergency funding. Operations achieved the following pest control coverage:
• 2014 – 660,000 hectares
• 2016 – 840,000 hectares
• 2017 – 700,000 hectares

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