Because our natives evolved without mammals like possums they are being destroyed by these introduced pests
New Zealand's wildlife is unique
New Zealand is home to some unique and ancient wildlife that is found nowhere else in the world. This is because New Zealand has been geographically separated from other land masses for over 80 million years so our native wildlife has evolved in isolation.
We have no native mammals to prey on our birds
New Zealand has been described as a ‘land without teeth’, due to the fact there are no native terrestrial mammals except for two species of bat. All of our unique native wildlife evolved in the absence of land mammals, so when pests and predators were introduced they took a serious toll on the survival of our native plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates.
Many of our native species are already extinct
Sunce people and pests arrived in New Zealand many native animals have been driven to extinction, including 42% of all our bird species, three frogs, a bat, at least three lizards and a number of insect species.
Kiwi killed by a stoat
Introduced predators are killing our native species
Predation by introduced mammals continues to be the single greatest threat to some of our most iconic wildlife.
The diversity of introduced predators means that much of New Zealand’s natural environment has been affected, whether it is native bush being eaten by possums, goats and deer, wasps eating honeydew and starving the native birds, or introduced fish such as koi carp wrecking our waterways.
Nine out of 10 North Island brown kiwi chicks born in the wild will die before they are one year old. This is the stark reality facing our vulnerable native species in their battle against imported predators.
Watch a video of possums eating parrots
Learn more about how possums are eating the kea, New Zealand's native parrot.
Dead kohekohe trees damaged by possums
We need pest control to protect our native plants and animals
Control programmes to manage and remove animal pests are essential for the survival of New Zealand’s special native plants and animals.
However targeted pest control campaigns can turn the tide for threatened species. For example, North Island brown kiwi survival rates in the Tongariro Kiwi Sanctuary surged to almost 70% in the year following intensive predator control.
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