Public perceptions of the use of novel pest control methods

  • Preparing bait stations. Image - Ivor Yockney

    Preparing bait stations. Image - Ivor Yockney

  • Measuring a rat. Image - Andrea Byrom

    Measuring a rat. Image - Andrea Byrom

  • Filling aerial hopper for 1080 operation. Image - Ivor Yockney

    Filling aerial hopper for 1080 operation. Image - Ivor Yockney

Project 2.6

Leader: Edy MacDonald, Department of Conservation


Scientists designing pest control methods know that they are part of a wider society and there is a need to understand and listen to the public’s views about novel technologies. Dr Edy MacDonald and her co-researchers are working nationally to understand what different groups feel about new wide-scale pest control that might be developed, starting with tools for the control of wasps and rats.

Her group will discuss potential new technologies, testing the degree, if any, of social acceptance and opposition to the use of innovative new methods. The research will focus on two groups: the general New Zealand public and the main stakeholders/partners, e.g. iwi, commercial bee industry, farmers, and local government. Organisations committed to understanding public opinion and acceptance or otherwise of novel pest control, e.g. Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, and local councils, can use the findings as a guide for public engagement in future.

Exploring public acceptance of novel technologies for pest control

Edy MacDonald, Friday 8 December 2017

Robyn L. Kannemeyer, May 2017. A systematic literature review of attitudes to pest control methods in New Zealand. Prepared for: New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge.

Choosing the best methods for controlling possums and other pests
Choosing the best methods to control possums, rats, ferrets, stoats and feral cats has been made easier with the production of a publicly available internet–based Decision Support System or ´DSSD. The decision support system (DSS) aims to help New Zealanders, from novices to experts, select the most appropriate options for controlling vertebrate pests in a particular locality. Using your answers to a series of questions about the control operation you want to undertake, the DSS systematically evaluates the potential constraints that may be operating in the area, and provides you with ‘best practice’ advice and other information about the recommended options. Presently the DSS covers five common pests - possum, ferret, feral cat, stoat and rat.

The research is exploring the relationship between the public’s acceptance, or lack of acceptance, of novel technologies, with their beliefs, attitudes and values.

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