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Elimination vs Suppression. How does Covid-19 compare to NZ’s predator elimination projects?

There are some really good comparisons between NZ’s Covid-19 response and its predator elimination strategy. Most of the world has no chance of a successful Covid-19 elimination and hence are using methods for Covid-19 suppression. For Covid, NZ was applying an elimination strategy that acknowledges there will still be cases but they can be controlled. With predators, NZ has great success with elimination on islands and in fenced sanctuaries. There are now numerous projects attempting elimination on the mainland. An analogy with Covid is useful as it helps understand the key tools needed for an elimination strategy. 


The Cacophony Project Strategy and Progress: A summary

If you're a regular reader of our blog, it might be easy to get the impression that we are randomly trying lots of things.  The reality of life on the project is somewhat different - there is a targeted structure to what we are doing. This post gives a summary of that strategy.  To bring back the Cacophony of native fauna in NZ there are a number of separate parts of the puzzle that we are trying to solve. What follows is a summary of each sub-goal as we see it along with an indication of where we are up to with our progress.

Blind-snap - our first crack at a high interaction predator trap

Our previous blogs have highlighted how most predators in well trapped areas just walk past existing traps. This blog shows our first attempt at a device designed to trap hard to trap predators or re-invading predators. At the moment the competition for this sort of application is pretty much manual hunting or very intense trapping and baiting (which often never gets to zero).

Why improved interaction rate is the holy grail for trapping

In recent blog posts we have gone into detail on different trapping strategies.  We chose to do this because we are convinced that many approaches that may seem intuitively to be great strategies won’t actually make much of a difference to the elimination of predators. Our camera experiments have shown consistently and across a number of different environments that, for an area that has been trapped for a while, there is a persistent population that avoids existing traps.  Today we introduce a collection of approaches and ideas that we believe can actually improve the predator interaction rate and give us a real chance of achieving our predator-free goals.

Will improving the kill rate of existing traps make much of difference in our ability to eliminate predators?

Today we tackle the question of the kill rate of existing traps.  The arsenal of traps available to trappers includes some well-designed, field-tested, and hardy workhorses.  And yet we know that even the most skillful deployment of these in the field only delivers a level of suppression, not the total elimination we strive for.  Today we discuss why that might be.