Rats, weasels, and other invasive predators will be gone from New Zealand by 2050
Aside from nuclear bombs, few things are worse for the environment than invasive species, which show up in places they’re not natural to, kill and eat the local wildlife, spread diseases the locals aren’t prepared to fight, and just plain mess up the natural order of everything. Some places, like New Zealand, are beyond done with them, and they’re making eradication of outside pests a top priority.
If New Zealand’s plans work out, by 2050 all sorts of invasive predators will be off the island for good. That includes rats, weasels, opossums, ferrets, and creatures that other parts of the world take for granted but that New Zealand wants nothing to do with. According to Prime Minister John Key, such animals kill over 25 million native birds a year, like the kiwi, the most iconic New Zealand thing this side of Hobbit holes. So they’re looking to set more traps, drop more poison from the air, and get all these pests gone by mid-century. The cost, according to a 2015 University of Auckland study, will run the country over $6.2 billion, which is a bargain compared to what it would cost to not do anything: over $11 billion. That’s like being forced to choose between a 100-degree day and a 130-degree day. Both are really uncomfortable, and given the chance you’d rather not either way, but you can at least survive 100 degrees.