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…

Who is ready to move? Indicators of when Pycroft petrels are ready for translocation.

Gadfly petrels (Pterodroma species) are amazingly adapted to life at sea, having evolved almost alien-like traits. Spirally twisted upper intestines aid in the digestion of marine organisms. Glands located above the eyes remove excess salt from the bloodstream which is drained from tubular nostrils. The petrel’s keen sense of smell isn’t…

Ecology by the numbers

It is probably safe to say that the job description of an ecologist in 2016 is quite different from that of an ecologist back in the 1970’s or 1980’s. Our work today involves computer programs and fancy technology, some of which make our work much easier. But some appear to make…

Darwin and the Sandwalk: Stay at home Dad

Darwin had a lot of kids (ten, three dying young, Charlie the last in 1858 of scarlet fever aged just two). Darwin also worked at home for most of his life. So he was a stay-at-home dad! I have found that coordinating three sons and getting them all to their…

Identifying the killers’ next of kin: stoats, ferrets and weasels

The title of number 1 killer in New Zealand is a fairly well fought over position. There are numerous introduced species that could enter this competition. Possums, even though not especially big predators, have, through sheer weight of number, a huge impact. Cats, wild and domesticated, are super effective killers…