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50th Anniversary of Rodent Eradications

In 2014 New Zealand celebrates 50 years of rodent eradications, following the confirmation of successful eradication of Norway rats from Maria Island in 1964 by the Forest and Bird Protection Society with assistance from Don Merton, and a grant of 5 pounds from the Wildlife Service. At that time only 0.5% of New Zealand’s islands...

In 2014 New Zealand celebrates 50 years of rodent eradications, following the confirmation of successful eradication of Norway rats from Maria Island in 1964 by the Forest and Bird Protection Society with assistance from Don Merton, and a grant of 5 pounds from the Wildlife Service. At that time only 0.5% of New Zealand’s islands were predator-free but today that percentage has increased to 10%, due to the pioneering efforts of staff in the NZ Wildlife Service and then Department of Conservation, supported by volunteers and community groups. Much has changed in those fifty years, including the landmark use of helicopters to deliver bait aerially, and the knowledge export of rodent eradications to other islands across the globe.

The Noises
The Noises (Photo: Tad Fukami)

To celebrate these 50 years the Centre for Biodiversity and Biosecurity, University of Auckland and partners are hosting a symposium on rodent eradications to be held 10 September 2014 at the University of Auckland. The full-day symposium will consist of a series of talks by those involved at the time in pioneering eradications, presenting a retrospective of the eradication operation at the time, the benefits to the island today, and looking forward to the future of island conservation and rodent eradication. Registration is free and the symposium will be accessible to a general audience.

Black rat (Photo: James Russell)

More information and registration is available here

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Meet the Author

James Russell
Conservation biologist Dr. James Russell works throughout the world on remote islands and other sites to provide conservation solutions by applying a combination of scientific methods. Follow James on National Geographic voices for regular updates on his own work or other exciting developments in island conservation.