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14/7/2017 — Environment and Society
War extended on stoats and rats

The Department of Conservation’s (DOC) Predator Free 2050 campaign’s arsenal is set to expand with funding for three projects to control stoats and rats in New Zealand.

Conservation Minister Maggie Barry said: “The funding gives that extra push to promising projects already in the pipeline to help make them safer, more cost effective or to enlarge their scale.”

“We know new tools and technology are needed to win the war against invasive predators, so we’ve funded the newly-formed company Predator Free 2050 Ltd to support breakthrough scientific research.”

She said the current tools and technology need to be improved and enhanced to make a difference in the short to medium-term.

“That’s why we are investing in these three multi-year projects which will receive a total of $1.24 million support from the first round of a DOC-managed Tools to Market fund.

“I’m pleased to see successful proposals for predator-specific toxins and research to avoid harm to native birds.”

Ms Barry said these projects and the groundswell of community groups joining the predator-free movement will be invaluable as “we head towards our 2050 goal.”

The three multi-year projects to receive Tools to Market funding are:

  • Landcare Research NZ Ltd project to extend a Norway rat-specific pesticide so that it also targets ship rats
  • Victoria University of Wellington project to bring long-life rat lures to market.
  • Landcare Research project to evaluate the potential sensitivity of native birds to bait containing para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP) to support the toxin’s development for aerial stoat control.

DOC put out a request for proposals last December and selected projects where additional investment would accelerate completion and implementation of new predator control tools.

The fund has $2.8 M to allocate over four years and another funding round is expected later this year.

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A wild stoat.
A ship rat eating a kereru egg. Photo: Nga Manu Trust.