Authorities are increasingly concerned about the threat hedgehogs pose to the rest of New Zealand’s local wildlife. Unlike other parts of the world, these small animals have indeed few predators in the country.
On the other hand, they devour lizards, bird eggs and an endemic species of cricket, reports The Guardian. These insectivores are also a danger for animals that they deprive of food, such as the famous kiwis. The number of hedgehogs in New Zealand is unknown, but experts put it at four to eight individuals per hectare.
“We are not trying to kill in order to kill”
The government therefore wishes to limit its population by attracting small harmful mammals out of the environments that protect them. The slaughter of hedgehogs, however, comes up against “a certain psychological barrier”, explains Nick Foster, specialist in this species. Instead, some suggest sending them back by boat to the UK, from where they were brought by the settlers.
There are also many calls for controlled, strategic eradication that does not hurt hedgehogs. “We’re not just trying to kill for the sake of killing,” Nick Foster explained. “We are trying to make things better for the species around us. We have a duty to take care of the things that have their place in these areas. “
New Zealand has launched a program to get rid of all predator animal species imported into the country by 2050. The authorities have recourse to hunting, traps and poison.