New Zealand

Eradication of introduced species from inhabited islands requires consideration of both technical and social feasibility. Historically, biologists have struggled to engage successfully in the social components of eradication planning. Island communities have unique features that require consideration in eradication planning. Social impact assessment is a powerful planning tool used widely outside of wildlife management. We outline the core components of a social impact assessment as it could be applied to eradication planning on inhabited islands.

Predators play a critical role in ecosystems; however, when overly abundant, they can disrupt natural processes and cause extinctions of species. In particular, oceanic islands have endured many impacts of introduced mammalian predators. Whereas knowledge and management of introduced mammalian predators on islands is well advanced in natural landscapes, in inhabited landscapes, spanning rural and urban environments, comparatively less is known.

Since 1987, I have assisted the Cook Islands Conservation/Environment Service and, more recently, the Takitumu Conservation Area Project and the Avifauna Conservation Programme of the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) to plan and implement a recovery programme for the kakerori, a critically endangered forest bird endemic to Rarotonga. In 1989, the kakerori was one of the 10 rarest birds in the world, and classified as 'critically endangered' (Collar et al. 1994) with a population of just 29 birds. I calculated

In the May 1999 budget, the New Zealand Government announced that an extra $6.6 million over five years would be given to the Department of Conservation to fund an integrated stoat control research programme.

Although Talon® baits containing brodifacoum have been used successfully in eradicating rats from some of New Zealand’s offshore islands, little is known about any environmental effects of this toxin. We sampled invertebrates, blackbirds, soil, and water at intervals of 2 days to 9 months to determine whether brodifacoum residues were present after aerial distribution of Talon® 20P cereal pellets on Red Mercury Island and after bait-station use of Talon® 50WB wax-coated cereal blocks on Coppermine Island.

Questions on brodifacoum bait and impacts on the environment after decomposition, or leakage to water supply, etc.