The attitudes of young adults towards mammalian predator control and Predator Free 2050 in Aotearoa New Zealand

L. Dickie and F. Medvecky,  Australasian Journal of Environmental Management,  2023.

Predator Free 2050 (PF2050) is an ambitious goal that aims to remove three types of invasive mammals from New Zealand by 2050. It will require a significant amount of funding, research, and support. Young adults will have an important role to play for this programme to be successful. Therefore, understanding the awareness and attitudes of young adults towards PF2050, and predator control, is an essential consideration. A survey of 1479 18- to 24-year-olds was conducted in 2017. The results showed that a higher percentage of young adults than members of the broader public view the small, introduced mammals as threats to New Zealand’s environment. Furthermore, this study highlights support for the control of feral, stray, and domestic cats. More focused research on attitudes towards cats is recommended to gauge which control methods are approved of by young adults. Indeed, methods appear to be a key factor to young adults supporting PF2050. The aerial distribution of poison was largely viewed negatively, and moderate concern was expressed about the targeted animal’s welfare. Interestingly, young adults appeared to be open to the use of gene editing and gene drive, although they expressed caution. Targeted communication towards young adults on toxins and genetic methods is recommended. © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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