Protecting biodiversity earns award

  • James Russell traps mice on Antipodes Island.

    James Russell traps mice on Antipodes Island.

Congratulations to BioHeritage Project Leader James Russell who received a Society for Conservation Biology​ Oceania section distinguished service award for his outstanding contributions to biodiversity protection.

James, of the University of Auckland, received the award for his work towards the eradication of invasive species on islands and his impact on conservation policy in New Zealand.

The BioHeritage project James is leading aims to find high-tech scientific solutions that will lead to the widespread suppression and eradication of small mammal pests, including possums, rodents and stoats.

“The ability to cost-effectively keep rats, stoats and possums at undetectable levels if not eradicate them entirely will be transformational for New Zealand conservation,” he says.

“Ultimately, we want to enable the scaling-up of current efforts to landscape-scale freedom from pests. New technologies should also be targeted, humane, socially acceptable and cost-effective – and they should have been proven at pilot scale to effectively eliminate small mammal pests.”

His research feeds into BioHeritage’s overarching aim of mitigating the threats posed by animal pests, weeds, diseases and other drivers of global environmental change.