50th Anniversary of rodent eradications in New Zealand
In 2014 we celebrate 50 years of rodent eradications in New Zealand, 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 in 1990 to deliver bait aerially, and the knowledge export of rodent eradications to other islands across the globe.
To celebrate these 50 years the University of Auckland and partners hosted a symposium on rodent eradications held 10 September 2014 at the University of Auckland. The full-day symposium consisted 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. The symposium was free and accessible to a general audience.