LOS ANGELES, CA - Native New Zealand wildlife is under attack and now Prime Minister John Key is declaring war on rats, possums, stoats, ferrets, and feral cats. It's been 200 years since settlers introduced these invasive mammals to the island- and they've been preying on the rare yellow-eyed penguin, the kokako, and the kiwi ever since. According to government reports, the predatory intruders kill 25 million native birds every year.
With a budget of $2.3 billion, the newly announced plan, called "Predator Free New Zealand," aims to completely eradicate all these non-native species by the year 2050. In addition to traditional methods like traps, fencing, and air-dropped poison, part of the funds will go to inventing "new technologies" for solving the problem.
If it seems extreme, remember that New Zealand had no natural predators, so the native creatures never developed any real defenses. And while the ecosystem won't ever be how it once was, this is a major step towards preserving the beloved birds and lizards that still exist.
There are two notable exceptions to the ambitious plan: humans, of course, and house cats. New Zealanders love these pets, with more cat owners per capita than any other country. The Prime Minister- and proud owner of Moonbeam Smokey Fluffy- has assured everyone that domestic cats will be just as safe as he hopes the kiwi bird soon will be.