A research collaboration is proposing an alternative to Predator Free 2050, calling the current policy “badly designed and unachievable”.
16 July 2018
The research says the Predator Free 2050 policy is based on three flawed assumptions — that predator extermination is the best way to protect biodiversity, that we need to eradicate every stoat, rat and possum to protect biodiversity, and that complete eradication of predators is possible. This research collaboration was undertaken by Associate Professor Wayne Linklater from Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Biological Sciences and ecologist Dr Jamie Steer, who is also a Senior Biodiversity Advisor at the Greater Wellington Regional Council.
“None of these assumptions are true,” says Associate Professor Linklater. “Complete eradication of predators is technologically impossible, and biodiversity is affected more in some places by habitat decline and plant eaters than it is by predators.”
But perhaps one of the biggest issues with Predator Free 2050 is it requires eliminating select predators from complex communities of other plants, animals and humans, he says.
“This will likely lead to negative social and ecological outcomes. Eradicating some predators will cause populations of other introduced animals to erupt. Many people also have valid concerns about the safety and cruelty of predator control methods, and the policy fails to take into account Māori views on predator management as well, particularly on Māori lands.”
Predator Free 2050 could also lead to reduced public and government support for future conservation policies, says Associate Professor Linklater.
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