Animal Threats

Animal threats to New Zealand can be broken down into four main groups:

  • exotic animals that cause significant environmental damage
  • diseases of animals that threaten species already established in New Zealand
  • pests that threaten native and introduced animals
  • pests that threaten native and introduced plants

Many of these threats have yet to make it to our shores and there are strict import (offsite link to quarantine measures to try to prevent their arrival. Others unfortunately have already arrived and various programmes and campaigns (offsite link to are already in place to control them.

You can find a list of some of the main animals and organisms threatening New Zealand's aquatic environment in our saltwater and freshwater sections.

Animals that threaten New Zealand's native or introduced plants are covered in our plant section.

If you want a list of some of the pests and diseases that threaten New Zealand animals and plants click here.

Members of the public have an important role to play by keeping watch for anything potentially exotic or unwanted. If you suspect you have seen or found an unwanted pest or disease please call the Biosecurity New Zealand hotline on 0800 80 99 66. For information on pests and contaminants found on or in containers (air or sea) please refer to the See Contain Report brochure Link to PDF document(2941 KB) and poster Link to PDF document (2227 KB).

Exotic animals

Many animal species introduced to New Zealand prey on established plants or animals. These animals have often already been identified as pests and are targeted for eradication or control by MPI and regional councils. Long term management of many of the species below involves the development of a Pest Management Strategy.

There are a number of pest animals that cause significant environmental damage that are not wanted in New Zealand. This list includes some species known to be ranked in the top 100 of the worlds worst invasive alien species (offsite link to

Surveillance programmes for exotic animals:

  • National Invasive Ants Surveillance
  • Surveillance for exotic diseases of honey bees

Animal diseases

Diseases – such as foot and mouth - pose a huge risk to New Zealand's native animals and its agricultural sector.

This list includes some diseases which are notifiable or pose a significant threat to our trade.

The Animal Health Laboratory performs testing for many of these diseases to assure foreign markets that we are free from these diseases and provides support in exotic disease outbreaks.

Surveillance programmes for animal diseases

Animal pests

These pests pose significant threats to New Zealand because they transmit animal diseases or pose serious problems for their animal hosts.

Surveillance programmes for animal pests

Animal pests of plants

These animals – largely insects – threaten New Zealand's plants. Some damage our native plants and others can cause widespread damage to New Zealand's horticultural crops or exotic forest plantations.

Surveillance programmes for animal pests of plants

Page last updated: 5 June 2015