New Zealand is launching an ambitious $2.8 million plan to eradicate predators on Rakiura Island. Possums, wild cats and hedgehogs, among others, will have to disappear to protect the ecosystems of the island.
Rakiura is located off New Zealand’s South Island and covers some 180,000 hectares with a permanent population of just 400 people, but the popular island is visited by some 45,000 tourists each year.
The island features national parks with distinctive ecosystems, significant dunes and freshwater systems that are also home to many vulnerable native species including native birds, geckos and bats.
But the various predators affected the vulnerable fauna and flora, including the kiwi and the kākāpō, the heaviest and only walking parrot in the world.
The $2.8 million project will not only eradicate predators, but will also try to understand how the animals spread so easily and how best to control them.