New Zealand has declared war on pests. It wants to make the country predator-free by 2050. Its ambitious target is to remove all non-native species from the country within three decades. Prime Minister John Key says he will introduce strategies to kill introduced species, especially predators that kill New Zealand's native birds. He said: "Rats, possums and stoats kill 25 million of our native birds every year, and prey on other native species such as lizards….We must do more to protect them." His government has given $28 million to a company that will help action his plans.
Mr Key said: "This is the most ambitious conservation project attempted anywhere in the world, but we believe if we all work together as a country, we can achieve it." It will take all the efforts of the private and public sectors as well as community groups. New Zealanders do not want more of their country's native birds to become extinct. When European settlers arrived 300 years ago, they brought with them rats and other predators that have killed many different birds. The country's national bird, the kiwi, is now under threat. Only five per cent of kiwi chicks survive to adulthood.