Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Bird talk #2

9 Comments

More from our travels through New Zealand November 2019

Before mankind arrived in New Zealand,  it was the place of birds, there were no mammals, save for a couple of species of bat.

When humans arrived in New Zealand about 700 years ago the environment changed quickly. Several species were hunted to extinction, most notably the moa (Dinornithidae) and Haast’s eagle (Harpagornis moorei). The most damage was caused by habitat destruction and the other animals humans brought with them, particularly rats – the Polynesian rat or kiore introduced by Māori and the brown rat and black rat subsequently introduced by Europeans. Mice, dogs, cats, stoats, weasels, pigs, goats, deer, hedgehogs, and Australian possums also put pressure upon native bird species. The flightless birds were especially sensitive.  

NZ able tasmin nesting gull

New Zealand takes its nature conservation very, very, seriously. It has a zero tolerance of anything coming into the country that might pose a threat to the endemic wildlife. When you arrive in New Zealand, don’t expect to skip through bio-security checks. (I’d had a heads up on this from Tom, when he went out to NZ he took two mountain bikes out with, I saw the hours of cleaning prep he put into them before he packed them up).

With our farm address,  all our footwear disinfected before we were allowed to pass through, it all took some time, but mainly because we were the last passengers off   the last of four planes that arrived in quick succession into Queenstown airport, that and the fact we were behind a party of a dozen or so South Koreans, who seemed to have suitcases filled with food!

The Department of Conservation, seems a much more robust organisation than anything we have in the UK,  they’ve nailed their colours to the mast.

Predator Free 2050 is an ambitious goal to rid New Zealand of the most damaging introduced predators that threaten our nation’s natural taonga, our economy and primary sector.

Join us in eradicating New Zealand’s most damaging introduced predators: rats, stoats and possums. Going predator free will bring us a huge range of environmental, cultural, social and economic benefits.

Predator Free 2050 (PF2050) brings together central and local government, iwi, philanthropists, non-government organisations, businesses, science and research organisations, communities, land owners and individuals like you.

It can be a  controversial programme, especially the use of poison  which is dropped by helicopter into the bush, as well as baited traps.

NZ no trapping_

there are bounties too

NZ possum

In the UK we have ‘hospitals’ for hedgehogs, but in NZ hedgehogs are on the wanted list, because of  their  voracious appetite for the eggs of ground nesting birds.

There is obviously a large education programme ongoing too.  Trying to engage the next generation in Predator Free by 2050, by getting them to design a rat trap. (As seen in the stunning Te Papa museum in Wellington)  

It made me smile,  but on balance I think the rat might have preferred the poison.

NZ rat trap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

9 thoughts on “Bird talk #2

  1. Checks on potential pests and diseases coming into garden centres are too lax here so perhaps we should learn from NZ

  2. Our possums must be quite different from those in NZ. We certainly wouldn’t be trading in possum fur! On an entirely different subject, I just saw that you have Torch Lake Views in your sidebar. I used to visit there regularly — do you know anything about Gerry? We exchanged a couple of emails about the time that her blog went silent, but I think of her from time to time.

    • The possum fur boot innersoles looked very cosy! I often think of Gerry too, such a lovely blog buddy, like wise I’ve not been able to get in touch, I tried to find a postal address for the Writing and Bait studio, with no success. I hope she is OK.

      • I might give it another try through that friend of hers who also was a photographer. As I recall, she exhibited in different places. If I can find her name in the archives, I might be able to track her down. If I do, I’ll email.

  3. A little closer to home, the experience of the NZ conservation community has helped to shape this project, https://www.onwp.org/
    Somewhat ironically, on a different branch of the Tree of Life, in parts of the UK our earthworms are being devoured by the NZ flatworm. Gardening, often a relaxing pastime, now has biosecurity implications ☹

  4. Pingback: Bird talk #3 | Uphilldowndale

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