Predator Free 2050 goal may also benefit human health

Long Lunch 16/01/2018
Photo: iStock.

Pests could be a thing of the past by mid-century with the Government’s Predator Free 2050 goal, which aims to rid the country of pests like possums, rats and stoats.

Dr Mary E. McIntyre from the University of Otago in Wellington joins The Long Lunch to discuss how rats and possums affect human health in New Zealand.

In New Zealand, rats carry a whole range of diseases.

Rats and possums can carry diseases like salmonella, toxoplasma, leptospirosis, and campylobacter through contact, waste, or contaminated food and water.

“Quite often the exposures will be rural,” she says. “People out and about, camping, doing rural work with livestock and the like.”

Possums also provide a potential reservoir for mosquito-borne diseases such as Ross River virus.

Dr McIntyre supports the Predator Free 2050 goal, seeing it as a way to both protect humans and conservation efforts. 

Listen to the full interview with Dr Mary E. McIntyre above.

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