Predator Free 2050

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Predator Free 2050 is a plan put forth by the New Zealand government with the goal of eradicating all of its mammalian introduced predators by 2050.[1][2][3][4]

Opposition to planned procedures associated with poisoning feral cats arose in September 2018.[5]

Joint venture company[edit]

Under the plan, the government invested NZ$28 million into a joint venture company, Predator Free 2050 Ltd, with a plan for an additional $1 added for each $2 invested by the public, third parties such as philanthropic foundations or local councils.[6] It was later reported that they had also pledged an additional $7 million per year after the initial $28 million was provided over the first four years.[1]

On 25 July 2017, Conservation Minister Maggie Barry spoke about the project, calling it "the most important conservation project in the history of our country" and also said that Predator Free 2050 Ltd was planning to announce the first major project it would be funding before the end of 2017.[7]


Aside from the stated goal of eradicating all predator species by 2050, the Department of Conservation has outlined four interim 2025 goals:[8]

  • Suppress predators on a further 1 million hectares.
  • Eradicate predators from at least 20,000 hectares without the use of fences.
  • Eradicate predators from island nature reserves.
  • Achieve a breakthrough science solution capable of eradicating at least one small mammal predator.

Former Prime Minister John Key stated in mid 2016 that current technologies and methods would be insufficient for the ultimate goal of the project, and were banking on a 'new scientific breakthrough' to allow for the eradication of possums, stoats, and rats.[9]

Supporting large-scale projects[edit]

PF2050 Ltd called for expressions of interest from parties that are capable and committed to achieving the Government’s ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050. PF2050 wishes to identify regional/local councils, communities, mana whenua, businesses, NGOs and/or other entities who have predator eradication initiatives either underway or contemplated that can contribute toward meeting its interim (2025) goals identified above. A selection of projects will enter a request-for-proposal stage with the aim of approving the first projects for PF2050 investment by mid-February 2018.

Research strategy[edit]

In November 2017, Predator Free 2050 Ltd announced their research strategy[10]. In contrast to previous speculative commentary[11][12][13], this is the officially approved approach being taken. The strategy outlines four concurrent programmes. ‘Environment and society’ will explore New Zealand’s social and cultural views about predator eradication. ‘Eradicating the last 1%’ focusses on upgrading current predator control approaches. ‘New genetic control tools’ aims to inform New Zealanders as to the benefits and risks of new genetic technologies prior to any commitment to develop such tools for Predator Free 2050. ‘Computer modelling’ will develop shared resources that all communities and agencies contributing to Predator Free 2050 can use to design the right approach for their goals and environment.


  1. ^ a b Compare: Smallman, Elton Rikihaha (22 October 2016). "Predator Free 2050: Ambitious target gains widespread support". Stuff. Retrieved 17 January 2017. It's a truly audacious plan - ridding the country of rats, stoats and possums - but proponents hope the reward will be a chorus of songbirds. [...] the government has pledged an additional $28 million over four years and an extra $7m each year following, over and above the $70 million already spent annually on predator control.
  2. ^ Compare: Roy, Eleanor Ainge (25 July 2016). "No more rats: New Zealand to exterminate all introduced predators". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2017. The New Zealand government has announced a “world-first” project to make the nation predator free by 2050. [...] The prime minister, John Key, said on Monday it would undertake a radical pest extermination programme – which if successful would be a global first – aiming to wipe out the introduced species of rats, stoats and possums nation-wide in a mere 34 years.
  3. ^ "New Zealand aims to become predator-free by 2050". BBC. 25 July 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2017. New Zealand has set a goal of eradicating all non-native predators within 35 years in order to protect the country's indigenous wildlife. [...] The clock is ticking for stoats, rats and possums, as Prime Minister John Key wants "every single part" of New Zealand to be free of the creatures by 2050, the New Zealand Herald reports. [...] Feral cats are also in the government's sights [...].
  4. ^ Owens, Brian (11 January 2017). "Behind New Zealand's wild plan to purge all pests". Retrieved 20 March 2017. [...] Russell is taking on a much bigger challenge. He is coordinating research and development for a programme that the government announced last July to eliminate all invasive vertebrate predators — rats, brushtail possums, stoats and more — from New Zealand by 2050 to protect the country's rare endemic species.
  5. ^ Gudsell, Kate (2018-09-06). "Deadly poison plan worries cat owners". Radio New Zealand. Retrieved 2018-09-07. The stray cat population is estimated to be about 200,000 and feral cats are listed as a pest in most regional councils' pest management strategies, but as of last year, only four councils invest in widespread suppression of cat populations.
  6. ^ Kirk, Stacey (26 July 2016). "Government sets target to make New Zealand 'predator-free' by 2050". Stuff. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  7. ^ "New Zealand congratulated on Predator Free campaign". 25 July 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  8. ^ "Predator Free 2050" (PDF). Department of Conservation. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  9. ^ Davison, Issac (25 July 2016). "Government reveals conservation project with aim to be predator free by 2050". NZ Herald. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  10. ^ "The Predator Free 2050 Research Strategy". 16 November 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  11. ^ "Predator Free NZ - Expert Q&A". Scoop. 17 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  12. ^ Regalado, Antonio (10 February 2017). "First Gene Drive in Mammals Could Aid Vast New Zealand Eradication Plan". MIT Tech Review. Retrieved 14 February 2017.
  13. ^ Fan, Shelly (2 March 2017). "Natural Selection Is About to Be Overpowered by the First-Ever Mammalian Gene Drive". Singularity Hub. Retrieved 20 March 2017.

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