Islands of Life: Saving New Zealand’s Unique Species
New Zealand has declared war on predators. The country has many unique native animals as it was isolated from all other lands for 85 million years. Unfortunately, more than 4,000 animal species are now at risk.
Despite its green reputation, New Zealand is the world’s worst country in terms of the percentage of native species that are under threat. There are many reasons for this, including the loss of natural habitats (= living areas), over-hunting and the introduction of non‑native predators.
A program called Predator Free 2050 is aiming to deal with the last of these. It has the ambitious goal of eliminating mustelids, rats and possums by 2050. Cats have not been
included: they are a huge predator of native animals, but animal rights activists and cat lovers were not happy about the plan to include their furry friends on the list. Let’s have a look at just a few of the native New Zealand species which are at risk and what makes them unique.