Why are some animals a pest?
New Zealand has been separated from other land for over 80 million years. During this time our native wildlife learned to live without land mammals. And our native plants have not needed to develop defences against them. The only mammals living here during that time were bats.
When people arrived they also brought in land mammals. These animals damaged our native plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. In many parts of the country these introduced animals are now pests.
What do animal pests do?
Pests such as possums, rats, feral cats and stoats compete with our native birdlife for food and habitat. They eat the eggs and young and attack the adults. They have also reduced numbers of species like reptiles and invertebrates. These pest animals are often called predators.
Larger pests such as goats and deer damage native forests. They feed on forest plants, trees and seedlings. Forests can’t regenerate when these young seedlings are eaten. Pigs stop forest growth by digging up the forest floor in search of grubs and roots.
- Find out more about the different animal pests in New Zealand.
Predator Free 2050
Predator Free 2050 is a goal to get rid of New Zealand’s most damaging introduced predators: rats, stoats and possums. Becoming predator-free will protect our native and endemic biodiversity.
- Find out more about the benefits of going predator free.
- Watch this video: New Zealand's Most Wanted: Possums, Rats, Stoats.
How can you get involved?
Predators are found in both urban and rural areas. You could monitor and trap predators on your own property. Schools can also help by working with local councils to control predators in the school grounds. Schools can also encourage the community to get involved.