• Rat at bird's nest. Image - Ngā Manu Images

    Rat at bird's nest. Image - Ngā Manu Images

Novel predator control technologies Associate Professor James Russell, University of Auckland

The ability to cost-effectively keep rats, stoats and possums at zero density will be transformational for New Zealand conservation. The ultimate outcome for this project team is to enable scaling up of current efforts to landscape-scale pest freedom. The project aims to accelerate the provision of improved tools, methodologies and strategies for mammal pest control in general, and for local elimination of pests in particular. New technologies will be targeted, next generation, socially acceptable and cost effective, and will have been proven at pilot scale to effectively eliminate small mammal pests.

Novel wasp control technologies Professor Phil Lester, Victoria University of Wellington

Wasps stand out as one of the worst and most stubborn pest problems in New Zealand, with massive impacts on iconic fauna and parts of the production sector such as grape and citrus production. They are also a public health and nuisance pest. New tools for wasp control are one of the top 10 research priority areas for regional government agencies, along with community and industry groups. This project aims to deliver a step-change in the management of wasps, shifting from current small site control towards landscape-scale eradication.

Social licence for pest control Dr Edy MacDonald, Department of Conservation

Public acceptance of innovative technologies to control pest species in New Zealand varies widely and new technologies sometimes meet with strong opposition. This project is using pest wasps and rats as complementary case studies. The team is applying social science frameworks to experimentally test the degree – if any – of social acceptance of novel technologies for wide-scale pest control. The research focuses on two groups: the general New Zealand public; and stakeholders and partners including iwi, the commercial bee industry, farmers, and local government.

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