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.
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.
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.
there are bounties too
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.