Australia’s delicate ecosystem, of which its transformation of the rabbit from the sidekick of a storybook heroine to an odious pest is legend, is hardly news.
Its Oceanic neighbor and rival, New Zealand, the land of the Kiwis (both the native bird and the people), however, is pulling out all the stops to ensure it gets a similar reputation and soon. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key has revealed plans to make the island nation “predator free” by 2050.
Three species are currently said to be targets of the program: “rats, possums, and stoats.” These three are believed to have been brought to Kiwi-land by human agency, and are also believed to serve as a threat to the native species of animals, particularly birds.
Strange as it seems, the only type of mammal truly native to New Zealand is the bat. Ironically, the stoats were introduced to the nation to take care of the rabbit problem, which it apparently shares with Australia. But if years of making ermine into coat trimming couldn’t take care of them, who knows what can happen.
“Our ambition is that by 2050 every single part of New Zealand will be completely free of rats, stoats and possums,” said Key in a released statement. “This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe if we all work together as a country we can achieve it.”
How ambitious is all this? The government is going to spend $20 million a year, in addition to the $40 million already spent on pest control services, to fund the program. So, if you are a rat, possum, or stoat, get the hell out of there while you still can.
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