Rats in New Zealand have, this week, been served a harsh eviction notice. As the UK is swarmed by over 200 million rats, the New Zealand government is taking a proactive approach and have vowed to become the first country in the world to totally eradicate rats by 2050.
In a $20 million pest control scheme, over 720,000 hectares of land will be targeted in a bid to protect native wildlife throughout New Zealand.
Extreme Rat Control Treatment
This project is not like your normal rat control treatment in a London property, even of a large scale; this is extreme rat control treatment!
Not only are New Zealand authorities using traps, baits, poisons and fences, they are in the process of developing new technologies that will be refined over the course of the project to ensure total rat control for the future.
The plan is to rid all the offshore nature reserve islands and part of the South Island of rats by 2025, as well as other predators to native wildlife such as possums and stoats. The rest of the mainland will then be targeted.
Rats, possums and stoats all especially prey on native birds, such as the flightless kiwi, the kea, the kaka, the mohua and many more, by eating their chicks and eggs.
Rats breed at an alarming rate, producing 6 or more offspring up to every couple of months. Although exact figures are hard to determine, left untreated the rats of New Zealand could increase 20-fold in just 8 months.
The main poison that will be used is the controversial 1080, which will be sprayed onto otherwise inaccessible areas of land with the use of aircraft. Seen by some as a threat to flora and fauna, the government remains very much behind it. Conservation Minister, Maggie Barry stated that the use of 1080 has been proven to be very successful in past projects and that the government would not back away from it. Although the loss of some wildlife will be inevitable, the long-term results will counteract the temporary effects.
Where Did the Rats Come From?
Rats were introduced to New Zealand as far back as 1200AD, sailing in on canoes carrying settlers coming from Polynesia, and then again on ships from Britain transporting European settlers.
Although the introduction of the rat wasn’t deliberate, the same can’t be said for other animals that have now become predators in New Zealand. Stoats were introduced from Britain in 1870 to fight against the out of control rabbit population., but have now become one of the main predators in the country.
A $20 million pest control budget may seem extreme at first, but when you consider that introduced pests like the rat cost the country £1.8 billion per year in damages to the environment, farms and cattle, and also kill 25 million native birds, it seems a very appropriate sum.
Author: This article was written by Dean Mannion, Senior Pest Control Technician for Top Dog Pest Control who provide London rat control services.