Pest Free New Zealand: Why it Won’t Happen

In as long as it takes for a stoat to kill a kiwi chick, here’s why predator free New Zealand won’t work:


The penultimate possum plays dead…

  • The notoriously impossible task of counting (and accounting for) fish in the sea, and birds in the air, let alone all that creepeth and crawleth through the bush at night. If you thought interesting animals were hard to count, wait till you try counting the nasty ones! How will we know if we’ve got the penultimate possum? The final ferret? A sole surviving stoat? We won’t.
  • Predators will adapt. The cunning bastards have a knack for avoiding detection and untimely death…not even a gang of angry Maggies will stop them from multiplying.
  • Chemical warfare: the powers that be in favour of being pest free, also favour aerial bombardment of conservation land with toxins outlawed in most developed nations. It’s a solution that is at best unsustainable, relying heavily on helicopter distribution of poison pellets, and a vast chemical industry. Both are financially untenable.
  •  The reality of 3D terrain: contrary to contour maps viewed on flat screen TVs, the New Zealand mountains and bush are a wonderfully rugged prospect, hence the appeal of aforementioned aerial bombardment. However, the gullies, ravines and bluffs will shelter more than a single mating pair of our furry scoundrel friends.
  • Political cooling: the current program of zealous purging is bound to pass. The next election might bring in a new mandate. $1 possum pie at the school canteen?

© E.C. Richardson


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