Why is it important?
Our native plants, reptiles, insects and birds evolved in the absence of mammalian predation and have not evolved ways to protect themselves from introduced predators. Animal pests predate on our native species and compete for habitat and food sources.
- Possums are prolific browsers and can destroy whole stands of trees, while also predating on native bird’s eggs and chicks.
- Rats prey on eggs and chicks, lizards and insects plus new plant growth and seeds.
- Mustelids are top predators and kill young kiwi and many other birds and insects.
Certain animal pests (e.g. possums, ferrets and deer) also pose a significant threat to the agricultural industry. They can be carriers of bovine tuberculosis and pass it on to farm stock.
Pests have wide-reaching environmental, economic and cultural impacts.