A huge effort has gone into controlling possums across New Zealand for a number of years, particularly with respect to TB eradication efforts, but what do we know about the overall biodiversity outcomes? Are we on top of the problem? Has native biodiversity benefited long-term from the war waged … [Read more...] about Measuring biodiversity outcomes
If you find a dead bird in an area after a toxin operation it’s an easy leap to say “the poison did it”. But was the dead bird poisoned? The only way to know is to test for toxin levels – and that’s exactly what Landcare Research (Lincoln) scientists Grant Morriss, Graham Nugent and Jackie Whitford … [Read more...] about Bird by-kill – what research reveals
This is not about an amazing scientific breakthrough in new toxins or lures. It doesn’t reveal a science-fiction-like technological invention or genetic modification to wipe out predators. Such things happen rarely in the world of science. But what the following research projects show is that the … [Read more...] about Catching rats – getting the basics right
In a paper just published online (and not available in print until 2017), some of New Zealand’s top conservation scientists review the prospects for control and eventual eradication of our key mammalian pests. John Parkes, Graham Nugent, David Forsyth, Andrea Byrom, Roger Pech, Bruce Warburton and … [Read more...] about Pest-free future under the microscope
Science isn’t just about the big breakthroughs – although they’re great when they happen. Mostly it’s about challenging assumptions, testing alternatives and finding new and better ways to do things. Change is incremental and improvements are constantly being integrated into the way things are … [Read more...] about GPS offers aerial application alternative
Just because you’re not catching anything, doesn’t necessarily mean all predators have been eradicated. Being certain that an area is completely predator-free is a challenge in island eradications where certainty is needed before endangered species can be reintroduced. But the problem also applies … [Read more...] about Rapid eradication assessment – with online app
How do you change public behaviour - for example, persuade cat owner's to bring their pets inside? Is education the answer? Is education enough? If people just knew more about conservation issues would they become supporters and adopt conservation values themselves? Not necessarily. The reality is … [Read more...] about Influencing conservation behaviour – the role of social psychology
Research and innovation mean that the options for helping out our native species are increasing all the time. First there were small, predator free island sanctuaries, then bigger islands and then there was Zealandia – the world’s first fully fenced urban ecosanctuary. Mainland sanctuaries … [Read more...] about Doing the sums – what are the best predator control options?
Peanut butter has long been used as a lure for rats. Possums have a fondness for the scent of cinnamon. But are they the all-time favourite foods of rats and possums? Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington used chew cards to check out what really tickles the tastebuds of two of our more … [Read more...] about Better baits and better trapping
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?