The pest question: this is why you’ll always find me in the kitchen at parties

“So, what do you do?” It’s a common question that we often ask when meeting people for the first time, usually at parties or social events. For the last year or two I get a sinking feeling when I’m asked this. I usually know where it will end up. “So,…

Cat selfies make the world a better place!

Preparing for a significant birthday recently, I was on the hunt for photos of me as a baby. I realised fairly quickly that I didn’t have very many. Certainly fewer photos that I would now take on a single, normal, weekend day if I was with my family. That’s not…

Field work in the Southern Alps: undergraduate research on introduced pests

Veronica Price-Jones was an international exchange student that came to Lincoln University in 2017. She did the ECOL 393 Field Ecology Research course and recounts her experiences here. Admittedly, my ECOL393 experience did not get off to the most auspicious start. Thanks to a combination of cancelled, delayed and missed…

Moonshots, PredatorfreeNZ, camera traps and pest shyness: the very first Ecolincnz podcast!

Welcome to the very first Ecolincnz podcast. In this series I (Adrian Paterson) talk with New Zealand ecologists about issues of the day and the research that they are doing. Today we start with Dr James Ross who works in managing the mammalian pests running rampant in New Zealand. We…

Is moonlight the ultimate weapon?

Being terrorised by house mice was a challenge I faced growing up through my primary school years. Forgetting to empty half eaten lunch from my school bag in the evening could result in large rat holes by the morning. This was a lesson that I had to learn the hard…

Wondering about wandering possums: Understanding possum movement will save our livestock

New Zealand is home to many introduced species, some of which pose threats to the native flora and fauna. One such “invader” is the brushtail possum, a cat-sized and nocturnal marsupial introduced into New Zealand during the Nineteenth Century, for the fur industry. Possums have big impacts not only on the…

The Notorious Nestor notabilis: Conservation of the Clever Kea

Hiking the Edwards-Hawdon Route in Arthur’s Pass National Park a few weeks ago, I had my first encounter with the majestic, yet devious, kea (Nestor notabilis). While stopping to catch my breath, a curious kea hopped over to greet me. I was thrilled to see this beautiful bird for the first…

Predafiles: how to solve the problem of pest mammals in NZ

Pest mammal control, in particular the use of 1080, has long been a hot topic in New Zealand. Feratox owner, Jeremy Kerr did an excellent job of reigniting the 1080 debate last year when he threatened to contaminate baby powder with the toxin. The media storm that followed highlighted the polarising nature…

It’s all about the birds, but what about the bugs?

Predator control by poisons is considered a must by many in New Zealand. This is a touchy subject to approach as people’s opinions tend to be polarised with arguments for and against. These are particularly focused on how humane these controls are, and the risk to non-target species, especially birds….

Pickling pork: control of feral pigs with sodium nitrate

Killing animals is certainly not what comes to mind first when you think about nature conservation. Sometimes, however, killing a certain species is necessary to conserve another. One of the species which is killed for the sake of conservation is the feral pig, Sus scrofa. Feral pigs are omnivorous which…