The plan for a predator-free country lacks a vital tool:
New Zealand cannot save the kiwi, kererū and thousands of other endangered species without gene editing, say experts.
And attempting to do so without the technology is likely to cost the country “a significant proportion of our national budget”.
New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis has been addressed by a new national Predator Free 2050 plan.
But a number of academics and researchers claim it wrongly rejects the “most promising” new technology in pest management – gene editing.
“Under current technology, achieving the Predator Free 2050 goals would not only be unlikely to succeed, but also extremely expensive, costing us a significant proportion of our national budget,” says University of Otago professor of philosophy and politics Lisa Ellis.
“Of all technologies on the horizon today, only gene editing offers the prospect of potentially affordable and effective eradication.” . .
Opposition to gene editing often comes from people who are also opposed to conventional tools like 1080.
It often comes from people who urge us to follow the science in other debates on conservation and the environment but this is example of science only when it suits their ideology, again.
There is no hope of being predator free in 30 years without using all the tools in the eradication toolbox and it is stupid to rule-out the one that is likely to cost less and impact more with less collateral damage.