For millions of years New Zealand was a land where our native birds could grow and flourish. The introduction of mammals and other exotic species from overseas overturned a natural ecosystem and pushed our native flora and fauna to the brink of extinction – over the brink in some cases.
Many of our most threatened native animals come under constant attack from introduced predators such as rats, stoats and possums. These animals kill around 25 million native birds a year and are the most significant cause of New Zealand’s decline of threatened species.
Predators also wreak havoc for our agricultural sector by spreading disease, and destroying pasture, crops and forestry. They are also responsible for a widespread loss of biodiversity.
Since the 1960s we’ve eradicated predators from more than 100 islands. To further preserve the native species that are so important to our country a plan has been announced to protect New Zealand’s native animals and plants through an ambitious target of making the main islands of New Zealand predator free by 2050.
The recent predator free goal is a world-first initiative and one of the most ambitious conservation projects ever undertaken.Not only will the initiative help restore our native birds and boost our agricultural industry, it’s also set to improve the health of our forests and reinforce New Zealand’s trade and tourism brand.
The Government announced an initial funding injection of $28 million to the project, which will launch a new company that will couple Government expertise with philanthropic, business, and community efforts.
Achieving a predator free New Zealand is the next step in our conservation journey. The project will require a massive effort from our communities, but the end result will be worth it.