All Bird-Eating Predators Including Cats to Be Exterminated from New Zealand

In what has been described as the most ambitious conservation project (I wouldn’t describe it as that) the government of New Zealand plans to kill, over a period of 35 years, all predators who prey on birds in New Zealand. This of course must include feral cats. New Zealand has a not too dissimilar attitude towards feral cats as Australia. The attitude could be described as a dislike for the feral cat, to put it mildly.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Many of the predators will be poisoned. The poison will be sodium fluoroacetate. This is commonly called 1080. It causes heart or respiratory failure in mammals, apparently.

Many “introduced species” or to use another term “non-native species” which are predators to birds have thrived in New Zealand. They have been introduced to the islands since the 13th century when the Maori of Polynesia arrived bringing with them Pacific rats for food. Rats prey on birds.

Norway rats were stowaways on early British sailing steps. British settlers brought with them hedgehogs, quail, mallards, partridges, brown trout, house sparrows and rabbits. The rabbits thrived which resulted in the importation of ferrets and weasels to try and control them. The control attempt failed but the weasels prospered and along with the rats preyed and fed upon eggs and infant birds.

Feral cats NZ
Feral cats NZ. Not dissimilar to Australia.

The effect on New Zealand’s native birds has been devastating. One main reason for this is because up until the introduction of non-native predators into New Zealand the birds had no natural predators and as a consequence many developed traits which left them vulnerable such as ground-feeding and ground-dwelling lifestyles.

The national emblem of New Zealand is the Kiwi which is a flightless bird. You can imagine how vulnerable this famous bird is. I’m sure that the government has been highly motivated to make their decision to exterminate these predators because of the vulnerability of the Kiwi and because of it has declined to less than 70,000 individuals in the country today. Apparently out of every 20 Kiwi chicks born in the wild 19 are killed by, yes, non-native bird eating predators.

The eradication process over this large landmass will cost an estimated NZ$9 billion. This represents about three quarters of the country’s annual Social Security and welfare budget.

We are told that 34% of New Zealand’s native birds have been extirpated from the islands to never return. These birds include giant eagles and wrens.

I can understand the attitude of New Zealand’s government in wishing to protect their native bird species. Personally I don’t like the method. It is, in all honesty, a human generated mess of giant proportions. Humans introduced the predators in the first place. They did so without any thought about the consequences and now, late in the day, they see the consequences and don’t like it so they are determined to kill in large numbers.

It is almost certain that the project will fail. No country and nobody has ever tried to carry out such an ambitious and wide-ranging project. It is a massive task. There’s bound to be collateral damage by which I mean many other animals other than bird-eating predators will be killed at the same time. There may be health concerns regarding humans because if you are using tons of poison as they must in this project then I would suspect that people are also in some danger. New Zealand is the biggest user of the poison 1080. They buy 80% of world supplies.

There may well be some more unforeseen consequences arising out of this project. Just wait and see.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

16 thoughts on “All Bird-Eating Predators Including Cats to Be Exterminated from New Zealand”

  1. Does anyone know, although I suspect they are, if cats are observant learners ? Many animals become trap wary through observation.

    1. They’ll just put poison out for the rats too.
      There is this weird thing were some groups want to restore the environment to what it was before…but the world has changed and the eco systems along with it.
      The feral cat overpopulation is a real issue it seems but they are so to speak dropping the bomb without any long term planning. In fact they plan to kill all the rats and a few other species by 2050 as a target date. Morons. Feral cats have short lives at best. Introducing chemical sterilization and then enacting S/N laws with owners they would be done in less than 5 years. Add a good TNR and locate colonies where you want pests exterminated.
      But they would rather have a good old lets kill cats and have fun throwdown.

  2. We as humans always propose radical quick fixes to alleviate our long term problems; problems we created in the first place. And you can bet your last dime that there will be substantial collateral damage if this plan to introduce poisons is carried out.The whole idea is just insane.

    Eva say’s-question-is the KIWI somehow immune to poisonous chemicals?

  3. This is very disturbing. To call certain animals invasive is illogical since they have been there for centuries. Nature adapts. And as usual,most species are lost due to human intervention. Cattle,sheep,dogs,pigs,and the humans themselves other than the aborigines are invasive as well.Stock animals destroy the environment. But because they are money crops,they are not considered invasive. I understand about wanting to avert extinction,but maybe Nature should decide. They are going to waste billions to poison rats,cats,etc. Dead animals will taint the ground and water. Also,many birds will peck at dead animals. Another man made disaster is in the works and they are too stupid to see the big picture. It seems the “invasive” label only applies to those animals which are not a money crop.The US acts just as stupidly when other solutions can be found. There are such things as breeding programs and releasing to the wild endangered creatures.

    1. The amount of poison injected into the ecosystem will probably be worse than any damage cats are doing. That isn’t beginning to count the number of other animals that are exposed to it on other levels. Meanwhile all the little Serial Killers are getting their rocks off.

  4. First humans bring the cats, Then humans refuse to employ the simple method of modern S/N then the humans blame the cats for breeding and eating their birds so the humans plan to kill the cats since they refuse to quietly starve.
    They are obviously past TNR and there will have to be a cull. Here’s my gripe, concern, beef with this. I spent a sickening half hour last night reading the FB Cat Busters. It seems to have drawn out the most sadistic mentally unstable group of humans who are NOT doing a job but having a jolly good time killing any cat they come across. I liken their FB threats to cat owners to terrorism. Of course it’s much cheaper to poison an animal that you’ve vilified so no one feels guilty it went off and died in agony. In fact that seems to make some of the Cat Busters get happy in their pants.
    As a long time outdoors person I have seen DOGS kill more wildlife than any domestic type cat. And that includes the birds in my backyard by neighbors roaming crap hounds. In fact we could have a whole section on the threats of dog feces to wildlife and humans.
    Again this movement has attracted a mess of sadistic cat haters who are being give the go ahead to act out their worst fantasies.
    Here’s a good question . What are you going to do when the vigilantes pound on your door demanding you hand over your cat on the grounds it might get out. Or when a zealot shoots your cat while in it’s enclosure. Or your chipped, tagged pet gets out and you see it hanging on a fence.

    1. Yes, and if you report them to Facebook, you will be notified that their content falls within the FB allowed parameters. And if you still are discontented, you can “ask them” (the FB Cat Busters) to remove or tone down their content.

      Uh huh. Oh sure!

      (Michael, notice Website Change!)


  5. this may be a stupid question, but is “TNR” short for Trap N Release? im just curious.
    if it ISNT then my apologies, but if it IS then i dont think THAT is a good solution cuz the animal will still be able to eat whatever it was already going to anyway. all THAT does is stop it from procreating. idk about the NZ, but around here that doesnt really help so much. it COULD if it was set up properly with incentives, etc, but that doesnt typically tend to be the case. besides, most people tend to go for the “easy” solutions to problems without ever thinking of the consequences OF those actions. their, i mean NZ, ENTIRE problem is a big, “SEE, PEOPLE, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN U DONT THINK THINGS THROUGH?!” situation. NOW there about to create ANOTHER one. these things happen when people dont take into consideration The Rule of Unintended Consequences. its like Murphys Law where for EVERY action u take there will be AT LEAST 3 outcomes that u never thought of, AND at least HALF of them will negatively impact u &/or others others in some way.

      1. Yes, unfortunately the NZ authorities don’t believe in TNR a more humane method of controlling cat numbers.

  6. The most iconic of NZ’s birds – the moas – were exterminated by humans. This led to the demise of a giant eagle species that preyed on the moas. Yet humans – the planet’s most destructive species – haven’t departed NZ. Admittedly humans are well on the way to exterminating themselves.

  7. Of course it will fail! The only way to properly do it is TNR, which is more humane and would make the country look less like a monster.

    I doubt they’re taking into consideration the number of animals they will kill who will eat the dead cats who died from poison. Or those animals who eat poison-laced bait that aren’t cats because genre hungry.

    And what of human owned cats? Are they going to ban cats? Make cat sterilization mandatory? Not every human will obey a ruling like that. Farm cats are rarely sterilized because they are important.

    Which begs the question I didn’t see you raise, though maybe you did mention it. Rodents. Wasn’t the Black Plague caused in part by the mass murdering of cats, which caused the rodent population to explode?

    Yeah. Have fun with your new problem, New Zealand. How will you deal with a rodent explosion? Oh, and your second and third problems – a mass exodus of New Zealanders who love cats, and tourists who ban you from their itineraries.

    I’m not going to Australia due to this and I had loved visiting in 2003.

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