It’s five years since the hugely ambitious Predator Free 2050 goal was established. Councils across the country have been instrumental in implementing and coordinating programmes to help their communities achieve this exciting though formidable objective. A recently released report shows what has been achieved and what challenges remain.
The report was published by the Department of Conservation and is available on their website.
What has been achieved so far?
The five-year progress report states that the goal of suppressing predators over at least one million hectares has already been achieved, and four other goals are on track to be achieved by 2025. These goals are:
- possums or mustelids are eradicated from a New Zealand city
- effective tools and knowledge are available to achieve predator eradication on farmland
- whānau, hapū and iwi lead at least five eradication projects
- predator eradication is achieved in unfenced areas of at least 20,000ha on mainland New Zealand and defended from reinvasion.
There is currently insufficient data to determine whether the goal 'a breakthrough science solution has been developed that can eradicate one mammal predator from the New Zealand mainland' will be achieved by 2025.
The report also states that one goal will not be possible to achieve by 2025. This is that all mammalian predators are eradicated from New Zealand's uninhabited offshore islands.
Councils making a huge contribution to goal
According to the report "Local government across Aotearoa New Zealand contributes to Predator Free 2050 through their business-as-usual predator control activities in the regions. The combined total investment of local government is estimated to be more than $26 million annually." This significant investment combines with $75 million annually funded through central government agencies. Numerous trusts and philanthropy have also made significant contributions to individual programmes.
The report highlights many aspects in which Predator Free 2050 has contributed to community well-being. It has enabled people across the country to connect with the land and make connections with others in their communities.
The report also underlines the value of Predator Free 2050 with respect to strengthening partnerships between the Government and Māori. "Government agencies can express and enact Treaty of Waitangi principles through working together with whānau, hapū and iwi to protect shared taonga species and re-invigorate human connection to the environment."