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….

Fishing for possum DNA

“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is a reasonably  well known quote from Theodosius Dobzhansky. It makes the point that we never really understand biology until we see it through an evolutionary filter. In recent years we could play with this quote and say “Everything in biology can make…

Who ate all the pies? Density dependent foraging between rats and possums

A Christmas tale of density dependence…. We all know the scenario. Christmas Day and you pack up the kids and wife to head to the grandparents for dinner. Lincoln to Ashburton is a fast 50 minutes of straight, flat driving over the Canterbury Plains, only enlivened by the wide Rakaia…

No prisoners! A new toxin for NZ pest mammal control

On my recent re-read of The Lord of the Rings I was struck by events that have concerned me since I read LotR as a kid, the genocidal nature of Tolkien. At the end of the major battles; Helm’s Deep, the Pelennor Fields  and at the Black Gate (and even the…

Ecoblitzing Cambridge

Over the last few days we ran a successful ecoblitz at St Peters School in Cambridge. How does an ecoblitz differ from the more common bioblitz, I hear you ask? In a bioblitz we arrive at a location and try to record all of the biodiversity at that site, typically…

A bird at hand is worth… a lot more bush

       Ross Carter-Brown is a postgraduate student in the Department of Ecology at Lincoln University. Here he writes about an ongoing project that started off as a summer scholarship. Restoration projects tend t  o focus on mass plantings to revegetate a site and achieve canopy closure as soon as possible. These plantings…

Winning the battle for our birds (but losing the war?): 1080, rats, possums and the NZ bush

Sometimes common sense is not actually our friend. In our society common sense is usually seen as a virtue that those so-called experts could do with more of. But common sense can fall down on the common side of things. The All Blacks have gone into every rugby world cup…