Landcare Research - Manaaki Whenua

Landcare-Research -Manaaki Whenua

Predator-free New Zealand (PFNZ)

What is PFNZ?

Predator-Free New Zealand is a grass-roots movement aiming for the large-scale suppression or eradication of rats and mice (rodents), stoats and ferrets (mustelids), and possums across the New Zealand mainland.

“It’s crazy and ambitious but I think it might be worth a shot.” The late Sir Paul Callaghan.

In his final public lecture, visionary scientist Sir Paul Callaghan gave prominence to a question that conservationists have pondered for years. Could New Zealand, with its internationally respected expertise in vertebrate pest management and its network of fenced/island sanctuaries take the monumental additional steps to actually become predator-free?

In 2012, 19 of New Zealand’s best invasive species scientists, practitioners and experts met to answer the question. They determined that if the scope of predators was limited to mustelids, rodents and possums, and with advances in pest control technologies, PFNZ was a great goal to aim for within a few decades: not cheap and not easy, but possible.

The concept of PFNZ has captured the imagination of the public. What would it mean for our native biodiversity, our national identity and our international reputation?

Why make New Zealand predator-free?

As well as benefiting native plant and animal life, PFNZ would benefit New Zealand’s international reputation and enhance our sense of national identity.

Landcare Research scientists have expertise in vertebrate pest management, social science, policy development, biodiversity measurement and management, and surveillance and detection of pest animals across landscapes. Our staff are at the forefront of these discipline areas in New Zealand, and our research is also sought after internationally. We are well-placed to make a major contribution to the inevitable knowledge gaps that arise from a challenge as ambitious as Predator-Free New Zealand.