|English: The Tamaki Campus of the University of Auckland in Auckland City, New Zealand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
The start of a war will be commemorated this week — one waged not on foreign battlefields, but across our own offshore islands.
A day-long symposium to be staged in Auckland today will look back on the sprawling, decades-long struggle to clear introduced predators from our island and save our cherished native species.
Auckland University ecologist Dr James Russell, helping organise the event, said Kiwis could be proud of the progress made.
In 1964, when the late Don Merton and fellow conservationists declared Maria Island in the Hauraki Gulf free of troublesome Norway rats, the area of our islands clear of mammalian predators stood at about 0.5 per cent.
Today, the rate is 10 per cent.