Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

The Detail: How realistic is our Predator-Free 2050 goal?

Three years in, how realistic is our Predator-Free 2050 goal?
From The Detail

hands holding a
dead weasel

Image: via ZEALANDIA Traps Weasel Intruder

It’s just over three years since the Predator Free 2050 goal was announced, with the aim of restoring New Zealand’s spectacular bird chorus.

Listen duration 21:52

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.

When he announced it, then Prime Minister John Key described it as “the most ambitious conservation project anywhere in the world”.

It has also been likened to New Zealand’s version of going to the moon.

There are pest-free projects in place all over the country – but can we really achieve this lofty aim?

On The Detail today, Sharon Brettkelly meets two people who are doing their best to help get there, waging their own attack on predators on their 1300 hectare family farm on the Kaipara Harbour, north of Auckland.

They’re making headway. Gill Adshead says it’s like war time – bringing people together for a common purpose.

“The common purpose during war was the enemy … and the enemy is now predators,” she says.

She and husband Kevin live in an off-grid cottage in a secluded corner of their farm, from where they can hear at least three pairs of kiwi calling.

The couple has set up the Forest Bridge Trust to create a pest-free, coast-to-coast corridor of more than 100,000 hectares across this slice of the upper North Island.

It’s not something they imagined doing when they were raising their children on the farm.

“We didn’t have time enough to even plant trees in those days,” says Kevin. “But since then we probably plant about 10,000 trees a year.”

They use a combination of traps – testing all sorts of new types – and 1080. Kevin says 1080 is needed every three to five years to combat trap-shy stoats. Cats are also a huge problem.

“We catch more wild cats on this farm every year than we do possums,” he says. 

Understanding how dangerous your cat is, is a start. Kevin says it’s important to be aware of the fact they’re natural hunters – and to keep them in at night.

Pest control started in 2006, Gill saying they realised they shouldn’t be putting cattle into the bush in the winter time any more.

“So the family made the decision to retire 400 hectares of the property,” she says. A lot of it was in bush and a lot of it was marine wetlands. First the possums were killed off; then the rats; then the stoats. At that stage it was realised the land would be ideal for kiwi.

The couple got the neighbours involved, and helped them with intensive trapping plans. Those plans expanded to the Forest Bridge Trust idea. So far the Trust has spent nearly a million dollars, with funding from Auckland Council, DoC and other public agencies.

Auckland Council is spending a lot of money on deer, pig and goat control.

It’s a costly effort – fencing off streams for example is hugely expensive, at $25,000 a kilometre.

But Gill says you have to have tangible goals, and even if the land is not predator free by 2050, there will be a huge tract of protected land where our unique species can reproduce and still live, with a low number of pests.

“It’s the knowledge – getting the next generation to understand that actually we’re all going to have a trap in our back yard that we check every day, just like we clean our teeth.”

Made possible by the RNZ/NZ on Air Innovation Fund

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 


Cheap Grace And Climate Change: Australia And COP26

It was not for everybody, but the shock advertising tactics of the Australian comedian Dan Ilic made an appropriate point. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a famed coal hugger, has vacillated about whether to even go to the climate conference in Glasgow. Having himself turned the country’s prime ministerial office into an extended advertising agency, Ilic was speaking his language... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Funeral Rites For COVID Zero
It was such a noble public health dream, even if rather hazy to begin with. Run down SARS-CoV-2. Suppress it. Crush it. Or just “flatten the curve”, which could have meant versions of all the above. This created a climate of numerical sensitivity: a few case infections here, a few cases there, would warrant immediate, sharp lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, the closure of all non-vital service outlets... More>>

Dunne Speaks: 25 Years Of MMP - And The Government Wants To Make It Harder For Small Parties
This week marks the 25th anniversary of the New Zealand’s first MMP election. Over the last quarter century, the MMP electoral system has led to our Parliament becoming more socially and ethnically diverse, more gender balanced, and to a wider spread of political opinion gaining representation. Or, as one of my former colleagues observed somewhat ruefully at the time, Parliament starting to look a little more like the rest of New Zealand... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Labour's High Water Mark
If I were still a member of the Labour Party I would be feeling a little concerned after this week’s Colmar Brunton public opinion poll. Not because the poll suggested Labour is going to lose office any time soon – it did not – nor because it showed other parties doing better – they are not... More>>



Our Man In Washington: Morrison’s Tour Of Deception

It was startling and even shocking. Away from the thrust and cut of domestic politics, not to mention noisy discord within his government’s ranks, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison could breathe a sign of relief. Perhaps no one would notice in Washington that Australia remains prehistoric in approaching climate change relative to its counterparts... More>>



Binoy Kampmark: Melbourne Quake: Shaken, Not Stirred

It began just after a news interview. Time: a quarter past nine. Morning of September 22, and yet to take a sip from the brewed Turkish coffee, its light thin surface foam inviting. The Australian city of Melbourne in its sixth lockdown, its residents fatigued and ravaged by regulations. Rising COVID-19 numbers, seemingly inexorable... More>>