A mix of recent stories from New Zealand highlight the importance of controlling invasive species for the benefit of native plants and animals – and the importance of public engagement as part of the solution.
An article in the NZ Herald begins by asking if there is any solution to the devastating problem of rabbits. It concludes that ‘every tool available needs to be thrown at the animal’ and that co-ordination is essential. Different control tools must be used in unison and whole communities need to be engaged. Biological controls (such as the release of RHDV-K5, reported in the Otago Daily Times) will be part, often a central part, of multi-faceted programs.
Rabbits are but one example of an invasive animal causing harm to native species. NewstalkZB reports that New Zealand’s iconic bird, the Kiwi, is now benefiting from pest eradication programs on the Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.
However, another NZ Herald article reports concerns that ‘New Zealand’s bid to rid itself of pest predators could hit a wall if worries from the public are ignored’ as ‘winning the war on pests was as much about people as it was technology’. The report concluded with a view that ‘deep down every New Zealander wants to see our native biodiversity flourish, and so it’s actually quite easy to create opportunities for everyone to bring something to the table, as long as everyone remains open-minded to other views and leaves their politics at the door’.
For further information:
NZ Herald – Long rabbit war wages on
Otago Daily Times – Rabbit virus to be released
NewstalkZB – Kiwi on Rangitoto Island
NZ Herald – Public buy-in is critical to pest wipe-out