It has been estimated that between 25,000 and 45,000 people belong to community-based environmental groups in New Zealand. That’s a lot of volunteer work and, as the estimate was made in 2011, numbers since then are likely to have grown. There’s also a pretty wide range of uncertainty in those … [Read more...] about Survey investigates huge volunteer contribution
When there’s a mouse in your pantry you notice – but in the wider environment they’re common and inconspicuous. It’s difficult to know what impact mice have in a forest or wetland environment because mice are overshadowed by – and food for – their bigger predator rivals, including rats, stoats and … [Read more...] about Mice – should we be worried?
Blue ducks (whio) live in both the North and South Island – they’re isolated by distance, but how isolated are they genetically? Physically there are visual differences – the South Island whio is larger, for example. But just how deep do those differences go? Genetic difference matters when … [Read more...] about Blue ducks – how different is ‘different’?
Ship rats are known to be good and climbing trees – but what are they like at climbing mountains? If our climate gets warmer, might rats go to new heights in the search for new territory and food? Scientists Jennifer Christie and Graeme Elliott from DOC’s Christchurch office, along with Peter … [Read more...] about Rats, elevation and implications of climate change
Conservation genetics has implications for all sorts of conservation measures whether it be choosing the source birds for a translocation to a new sanctuary to ensure sufficient genetic diversity, ‘forensic’ type investigations to identify the source of a newly arrived predator on an island (where a … [Read more...] about Conservation geneticists want to build a bridge to DOC
Breakthrough genetic technologies are likely to play a key role in achieving a predator-free future. But it’s important that we understand what the various technologies are now – as they’re being developed - not when they’re about to be implemented. We need to debate the issues and become as … [Read more...] about What’s the story with genetic pest management (GPM)?
Mostly we get rid of introduced predators by, well – killing predators. It works, up to a point. But if you can’t get rid of every single rat or stoat then the few survivors suddenly find themselves with ample food supplies and very little competition. They breed and they breed very successfully. … [Read more...] about Putting the case for ‘bottom up’
Why did they do it? What possessed New Zealand’s government of the day, its citizens and acclimatisation societies to introduce rabbits and then stoats? It’s easy to judge in hindsight. But perhaps we should do more than judge. A better understanding of what they were thinking at the time might … [Read more...] about Liberation of stoats and weasels – a look back in time
Kea numbers are decreasing. Nesting adult females, their eggs and chicks are highly at risk from mammal predators. But are there other, invisible risks too? Extinction risk isn’t simply a numbers game – it’s not just the population size of a species that indicates whether it’s at risk of becoming … [Read more...] about Genetic diversity – what do we know about kea?
“Nearly 2 million tourists came to New Zealand last year. Few if any came to go shopping,” says Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Dr Jan Wright, in her newly released report. “Wilderness is becoming increasingly scarce around the world, and in scarcity lies value,” she … [Read more...] about PCE Report – More $$ for conservation, more support for groups