By now the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, about the fact that I’d love to see Stewart Island predator-free. If we actually achieved this mighty goal Stewart Island would be the first human-inhabited island to be made predator-free in NZ and possibly the world.
The other day I had the opportunity to have a chat on the vision with Ross Wanless (zoologist from the University of Capetown) and James Russell (ecologist from the University of Auckland). Ross’s PhD was on the effect of mice on the birds of Gough Island – and took a movie on that subject that we often show when talking about the impact of mice on the birds of the Antipodes
I decided to record our chat so you could get an idea of why eradicating predators from Stewart or Great Barrier would be such an awesome conservation achievement – a world’s first to get and maintain a predator-free area where humans live. But the challenges are high, not least because it involves an eradication and then ongoing border controls. But in addition it is common for people to support the concept but not to the extent they’d let such a programme affect their daily lives. It’s the classic NIMBY (not in my backyard) dilemma.
The video starts with us chatting about the Million Dollar Mouse Campaign and then moves on to the challenges around Stewart Island. If you are from Stewart Island I’m aware the community has previously expressed support for the concept, but I’d love to get your thoughts on what the hurdles are as you see them. Just comment below.