First Advisor

Luis A. Ruedas

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Biology and University Honors




Predatory animals -- Control -- New Zealand, Predation (Biology) -- New Zealand, Biodiversity -- New Zealand, Top predators -- New Zealand




Invasive mammalian predators are responsible for the loss of biodiversity and species extinctions worldwide: New Zealand is no exception. To protect native species, lethal eradication has become the primary means to control or remove invasive mammalian predators. These control attempts can indirectly affect non-target species through trophic interactions. Eliminating the apex predator can result in a release of lesser predators that can consequently continue causing damage, i.e., suppressing, the native prey population. This ecological interaction among trophic guilds is termed "mesopredator release." The research outlined in the present work provides a review of the concepts underlying mesopredator release, depicts how New Zealand is a suitable environment for such a release to occur, and the modifications that need to be made to lethal eradication plans make these more successful.


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