New predator-control drones to help nature in hard-to-reach places
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is investing $790,000 to test a new predator-control drone and take another step towards a predator free Aotearoa, the Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today.
“Restoring nature so indigenous species can thrive requires new tools and technologies for predator control in a way that is humane, safe, effective and affordable".
“Drones have the potential to be a game-changer – in helping remove pests from remote offshore islands, respond to pest incursions and suppress predators on mainland New Zealand." They may become another of the broad range of tools available to the Department of Conservation (DOC) and landholders to manage predators and restore New Zealand’s unique natural landscapes.
Predator-control drones have not previously been used in New Zealand. Kiwi startup Environment & Conservation Technologies (ECT) will test how the drone performs in a series of field trials, using a new light-weight bait spreader to apply non-toxic cereal baits over areas between 600 to 2000ha. DOC’s Tools to Market programme will invest $790,000 in the drone proposal.
“It will look at the feasibility and costs of drone use for predator control, as well as potential savings in carbon emissions from current aerial methods".
“This Government is supporting innovative Kiwi companies such as ECT to develop the technology of the future to bring back our native wildlife,” Eugenie Sage said.