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More predators in 2019?

More predators in 2019?

A long warm summer, leading to high seeding in New Zealand forests and a population explosion of rats, stoats and other predators; that's the Department of Conservation's prediction for this year.

The Mega-Mast
Is the term given to this years high seeding. Every few years in NZ, there is a mast year, where beech, other trees and plants produce higher than normal amounts of seed. On non-mast years, the trees do not seed at all, or have very few seeds.
This year is called the mega-mast, as the seeding is expected to be at it's greatest level for 40 years and is widespread across New Zealand.
Beech trees are normally the main contributor to a mast year but this year other varieties of native trees and plants, including Rimu, are flowering heavily as well.

The predator population explosion
High amounts of seed, equals more food for rodents, particularly rats that are prevalent in NZ forests. This increase of food, leads to a population explosion of rats which in turn leads to a large increase in stoat numbers, who feed off the excess rat population.

The threat to native species
Many of New Zealand's native wildlife, particularly birds, are at extreme risk from this predator population explosion. Some bird species, with already dwindling population numbers, face extinction or being wiped out from many areas in NZ.
The irony of this, is before invasive predators were introduced to New Zealand, mast years were profitable years for NZ wildlife, as the increased seed food source, also feeds NZ birds, insects and other wildlife.

The answer?
DOCs response to this predator threat is increased and widespread use of 1080 poison New Zealand wide. But is this the best and most sustainable means of controlling and reducing predator numbers?
Other means are available, many New Zealanders play a large contribution in protecting our native wildlife by trapping and other means, to reduce predator numbers.
Advances in technology, has increased the ways we can respond to predator threats. We're interested in your thoughts on how predator numbers can effectively and safely, be reduced.

Warm summers, increased predator food sources, a predator population explosion. If New Zealand is really going to be predator free by 2050, we all need to contribute towards protecting our native wildlife and finding innovative ways to eradicate an increasing predator population.

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