Many of New Zealand’s native wildlife species are not only unique, they’re downright weird. Take our singing short-tailed bats for example. Auckland University researchers Cory Toth et al have been studying their behaviour and have confirmed that they’re lek breeders. Like the kakapo parrot, male … [Read more...] about Batty behaviour intrigues scientists
It’s called the Trojan Female Technique and it’s involves a mutation in females that makes all their male offspring infertile. Because it is a gene, not a virus, it stays within that particular species and is spread from one generation to the next by breeding, not by disease. It has the potential … [Read more...] about Trojan Possums – are they the next step?
Fundamental to a well-managed pest control programme is detecting what predators you have and monitoring the changes in abundance as your trapping regime progresses. Leg hold traps are a traditional way to achieve this, but may not be sensitive to possum presence when possum levels are at very low … [Read more...] about Detecting predators – can you count on chew-track-cards and WaxTags?
Rest assured, New Zealand’s scientific community are beavering away to find new and better ways to combat possums. These are just a few of the research reports investigating possum control recently published in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology. Firstly a poison bait evaluation was … [Read more...] about New ways to combat possums
For thousands of New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic mice, their sojourn on the Antipodes is almost over. Endemic beetle and moth populations will finally get a chance to recover and nesting seabirds will be free of encroaching rodent harassment. The Million Dollar Mouse operation has put the spotlight on … [Read more...] about Friday afternoon reads… island recovery
Habitat modification – what’s good for native wildlife and what isn’t? Weta can thrive, living in the crevices provided by large introduced trees. Cutting those trees down to plant native saplings may not benefit weta – in the short-term at least. When grazing livestock are removed from regenerating … [Read more...] about Habitat modification – complex relationships
Environmental monitoring is more than just a modern conservation buzzword. It’s an essential tool in determining whether all those volunteer hours put in by your community group is achieving positive, measurable change. Positive change is not just dead rats, dead possums and a truckload of weeds … [Read more...] about Monitoring matters
New Zealand’s entire black robin population once consisted of a mere 5 birds and all black robins surviving today are descended from one breeding pair from the 1970s – the legendary ‘Old Blue’ and her mate ‘Old Yellow’ who literally saved their species. They had some help from the equally legendary … [Read more...] about Genetic diversity and bats
The detrimental effects of New Zealand’s larger mammal predators are very well documented. Everyone surely knows the devastation caused by rats, possums and stoats. So what about mice? At this time of year they can be a nuisance in your pantry and a worry to your wiring – but what are the impacts of … [Read more...] about Skinks, geckos (and mice)
For thousands of New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic mice, the next few weeks are the final countdown. With just a few weeks to go until mouse eradication begins on the sub-Antarctic Antipodes, this week’s Friday read looks at some of the key Antipodes-based research which has led us to this point - to the … [Read more...] about Antipodes and the impact of mice