Trends in the development of mammalian pest control technology in New Zealand

C. T. Eason, L. Shapiro, S. Ogilvie, C. King and M. Clout,  New Zealand Journal of Zoology,  44:267-304. 2017.

Rodenticide and vertebrate pesticide registrations have declined worldwide over the last 30 years. New Zealand has not followed this trend, instead retaining essential toxins and traps, improving their use and exploring new mammal control tools. Looking to the immediate future, as well as continuing to improve the use of existing tools, there are opportunities for further advances in emerging technologies such as wireless technology for species recognition and aiding trapping programmes, self-resetting traps and toxin-delivery systems to be enhanced with advanced lures, and new toxins which increasingly combine low-residue’ characteristics with selectivity and humaneness. More selective baiting and delivery systems will enable more targeted control of possums, mustelids and rodents. The use of new toxins with advantages in specific settings should be complemented by improvements in resetting trap technology, barrier approaches, and novel biocontrol and genetic concepts. Sodium fluoroacetate (1080) and other important tools have been retained; we have the ingredients for transformational change, and new tools are emerging from a research and development pipeline. However, there has been limited practical experience with emerging technologies compared with traditional or 1080 baits. Additional investment and practical experience is imperative, at this stage, to enable the potential of new toxins and other tools to reach their potential. It is also important for the future of New Zealand’s biodiversity that research continues to be focused on emerging technologies as well as on completely novel ideas.