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Great white butterfly eradicated in New Zealand

Staff Writer | November 24, 2016
The invasive pest great white butterfly has been eradicated from New Zealand in a world-first achievement, Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Conservation Minister Maggie Barry say.
Great white butterfly
Nature   A $10 bounty for dead butterflies
“This is the first eradication of an unwanted butterfly population in the world and is another impressive example of New Zealand’s innovation and skill in removing pests,” Barry says.

Great white butterflies posed a major threat to native plant species and primary sector economy.

“They were first seen in Nelson in 2010 and the DOC-led joint agency eradication effort ran for three and a half years. It’s now been two years since any have been seen, and we’re confident we can declare them eradicated,” Guy says.

Community involvement in the eradication effort has been crucial to its success.

“A $10 bounty for dead butterflies was a powerful incentive during the spring school holidays in 2013, with children netting 134 of them,” Ms Barry says.

“Another innovation was the use of a modified garden ornament to attract butterflies to be caught in a net.”

DOC rangers carried out more than 263,000 searches of around 29,000 properties in the region for the butterfly and its eggs, caterpillars and pupae.