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50 years of island conservation this week

Protecting our islands from predators began 50 years ago – with a passionate man and a five pound note. 

It’s now a half-century since conservationist Don Merton began work to make Maria Island in the Hauraki Gulf pest-free.

Ecologist James Russell from Auckland University says pest eradication has come so far since then. 

“We’re celebrating our ability to clear rodents off these islands, but then the real icing on the cake is when we can reintroduce the rare birds to these islands.” 

Russell says with another 50 years, half of our islands could be predator-free.

“After that one hectare island, every decade since we’ve just added another zero onto the size of islands we can remove pests from.” 

James Russell says the more islands that become pest-free, the easier it is to keep them that way.

– Newstalk ZB


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