About

Pest Detective is an interactive field guide to help people in New Zealand identify the presence of pest animal species.

What is a pest animal?

The pest animals featured in Pest Detective have all been introduced to New Zealand either by accident or intentionally for various reasons. They are regarded as pests because they threaten the health of our native ecosystems and/or primary production sector. Their adverse impacts can include preying on or competing with native species, damaging crops or spreading disease.

Some species that are regarded as pests in some situations are valued in other situations, such as for hunting, agriculture or as pets. In these instances, management is required to minimise their pest impacts while recognising their community or economic values.

Deer, pigs, chamois and tahr are game animals, under the Game Animal Council Act 2013. Under this act, some populations of these species will likely be managed as herds of special interest for hunting purposes, whilst also considering their impacts and other relevant legislation.

Why Pest Detective?

It is important to know whether or not pest animals are present so population levels can be monitored and targeted pest control carried out when required.

However, many pest animals are notoriously difficult to detect so this website has been developed as an easy-to-use identification tool for:

  • practitioners working in the pest control sector;
  • landowners and land managers;
  • conservation volunteers and community groups;
  • students and researchers.

How to use Pest Detective

You can search in two different ways:

  • Clues: if you have field sign you wish to identify, or
  • Culprits: if you suspect a particular species or simply want to know more about certain pest animals.

To use in the field, either access on mobile devices wherever there is internet coverage (no special app is required) or download and print content. 

Once you have identified your culprit(s) go to the Next Steps page for links to pest control and monitoring information.