New Zealand

This review of the invasive land vertebrates present on islands of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) region is part of a larger review of the invasive plants and animals that have affected these islands adversely.

Invasive weeds are one of the most serious threats to biodiversity and sustainable development in the Pacific region. Biocontrol is likely to be the only feasible way of managing many widespread weeds, but is not always appropriate or successful. With so many weed species to tackle and inevitably limited resources, prioritising where to direct control efforts most effectively is of key importance. Landcare Research recently developed a framework for the Australian government that allows the best and worst weed targets for biocontrol to be identified.

Common mynas have been introduced (often as biocontrol for insects) or colonised many islands in the Pacific. They are one cause of decline in some native bird species such as endemic kingfishers, and are a pest when they damage fruit and compete for food to put out for domestic animals.

It is important to recall that Madagascar is a country of exceptional biodiversity worldwide. For example, among the 300 species of amphibians reported, the rate of endemism is nearly 100%. The recent incursion of the invasive Asian toad constitutes a direct threat to this unique biodiversity but also to human health and the country's economy. We suspect the toads impact may be comparable to the Cane toad in Australia; we must act swiftly to prevent a similar disaster unfolding in Madagascar.