Godwit in flight

Bar-tailed godwits are longhaul experts

If you’ve ever found a longhaul airline flight gruelling, spare a thought for those expert longhaulers, the kūaka /bar-tailed godwits (Limosa lapponica baueri) – currently departing for Alaska. They take a record-breaking 8-11 day flight as part of their migration from Alaska to New Zealand and back every year, feeding and breeding in Alaska during … Continue reading Bar-tailed godwits are longhaul experts

A dotterel

Omaha community is looking out for its dotterels

Fondly referred to by some as ‘Dots’, New Zealand dotterels are appealing little shore birds, their sharp ‘cheep’ call signalling their constant alertness to possible danger. They need to be watchful. Dotterels nest on the ground, where the camouflage of their colouring gives some protection against aerial predators but not against mammals. Camouflage isn’t much … Continue reading Omaha community is looking out for its dotterels

A kākā peeks out of a tree

Sugar intake of kākā measured at ecosanctuary feeders

Otago University zoologists Anna Aichele, Philip Seddon and Yolanda van Heezik have been measuring the sugar intake of kākā at Orokonui Eco-sanctuary just north of Dunedin where sugar water feeders regularly entice birds down from the trees to the delight of visitors. Note: We are re-sharing our articles. This article was originally published on December … Continue reading Sugar intake of kākā measured at ecosanctuary feeders

Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island: Will it work?

This week marks the publication of the Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island project report on the technical feasibility of eradicating pigs, cats and mice from Auckland Island. This is the most significant milestone since the eradication of pigs from the island was first raised in 1982. Over the last four years, the Department of Conservation … Continue reading Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island: Will it work?

Bats influenced by rainfall when visiting unique ‘wood rose’

Short-tailed bats are the main pollinators of New Zealand’s only fully parasitic flowering plant – the wood rose (Dactylanthus taylorii), known to Māori as te pua o te rēinga. Both the bat and the wood rose are endangered, but we still have a lot to learn about the feeding/pollinating relationship between them. Researchers Zenon Czenze … Continue reading Bats influenced by rainfall when visiting unique ‘wood rose’

Breeding wrybills face multiple challenges

Wrybills, the little shore birds with a bend in their beak, are only found in New Zealand. They breed on the South Island’s braided rivers with well-camouflaged eggs and chicks to help protect them from flying predators. But camouflage is no protection against mammal predators who hunt by scent. Does predator control help improve survival … Continue reading Breeding wrybills face multiple challenges

Rat-trapping has a long history in Aotearoa

Rat-trapping started early in Aotearoa’s history. The Polynesian ancestors of Māori brought the kiore across the Pacific in their voyaging waka, probably around the 13th Century AD and early Māori developed several types of ingenious rat traps to catch them. Aotea, Horouta and Māmari waka traditions mention that kiore were passengers on their voyages to … Continue reading Rat-trapping has a long history in Aotearoa

Predator pitfalls for live-trapped lizards

A common way to monitor what insects or lizards are around, is to use a live-capture pitfall trap which skinks, geckos and ground-based insects then fall into. With lizards, slices of pear or sometimes petfood are used to attract them to the trap. But lizards and insects might not be the only species to take … Continue reading Predator pitfalls for live-trapped lizards

Feisty, melodious tūī is a welcome garden visitor

We New Zealanders love our tūī. Maybe its their feisty, humorous territorial antics. Or maybe it’s the melodious calls interspersed with those ridiculous ‘snorts’. Perhaps its the iridescent black/green/blue/purple of their feathers. Whatever the reasons, tūī are warmly welcomed into our gardens and when predator control and habitat restoration lead to a surge in native … Continue reading Feisty, melodious tūī is a welcome garden visitor

Sheep, beef farms have significant conservation potential

Productive land such as farms, horticulture and lifestyle blocks make up 60% of the land area in New Zealand and often contains native vegetation. Such land could – and often already does – make a significant contribution towards conservation goals. But currently we know very little about the amount and types of native vegetation located … Continue reading Sheep, beef farms have significant conservation potential

Image of rolling Waikato hills

Waikato pest distribution, detectability studied

A recent study by Brandon Breedt and Carolyn King provides the first estimates of the proportion of the Waikato Region occupied by each of the target introduced mammal predator species. The results offer a warning to pest managers that pests are more widespread and harder to remove than is commonly assumed, and that the absence … Continue reading Waikato pest distribution, detectability studied

Tūī on a harakeke showing it's iridescent feathers in the sun

If our native birds were gardeners, what would they plant?

Native plants are a good way to attract native birds to your garden. No matter how small, you can always make your backyard more attractive to native birdlife by providing food, water, shelter, and nesting places/materials.  You can break down the diets of our native birds into nectar, fruit, foliage and insects. By planting a … Continue reading If our native birds were gardeners, what would they plant?

A grey skink on a rock

A glimpse of the social life of Otago skinks

Researchers have recently been studying the social life of our native skinks – and yes, skinks really do have a social network. Who would have thought it? Otago skinks (Oligosoma otagense) living in a large enclosure at Ōrokonui Ecosanctuary were the subjects of this unusual study of skink society. The research was carried out by … Continue reading A glimpse of the social life of Otago skinks

A shearwater amongst grass

Rare alpine seabird is ‘one of a kind’

The Hutton’s shearwater/Kaikōura tītī (Puffinus huttoni) is the only seabird in the world that breeds in an alpine environment, with breeding colonies in the Seaward Kaikōura Range at elevations between 1200 to 1800 metres. It’s a strange place to find an ocean bird nesting and explains why the locations of surviving colonies of the Hutton’s … Continue reading Rare alpine seabird is ‘one of a kind’

A couple of patake against green background

Researchers evaluate what pāteke need for successful reintroduction

Pāteke/brown teal are mainly nocturnal, small dabbling ducks found only in New Zealand. They once inhabited a wide range of habitats including wet forests, swamps, slow-flowing streams, lakes and estuaries and in pre-human times may have been the most wide-spread and abundant of our waterfowl. Even 200 years ago brown teal were abundant and widespread … Continue reading Researchers evaluate what pāteke need for successful reintroduction

Close up of petrel on grass

Colin Miskelly investigates seabird mysteries

Colin Miskelly is hoping to solve a mystery one day – to find where grey-backed storm petrels breed. They’re one of the smallest seabirds in the New Zealand region and there’s a very good chance they have a colony somewhere in the lower South Island. According to Birds New Zealand, there is a long history … Continue reading Colin Miskelly investigates seabird mysteries

Image of a gannet colony

Bringing poo to an island near you…

Even ocean-going birds need to come ashore to breed and when they do, they bring a gift from the oceans with them – nutrient-rich guano (otherwise known as seabird poo). It’s a fertiliser bonanza, especially when those seabirds nest in large, breeding colonies. Terrestrial plants and wildlife thrive on these so-called ‘seabird islands’ because of … Continue reading Bringing poo to an island near you…

Female dotterel on nest

Longterm banded dotterel study shows predator control benefits

Annual bird counts show that banded dotterels have been declining on our braided rivers for many years. But there’s good news amongst the bad. A recently published analysis of longterm population trends, using data from 1962 to 2018, reveals just how big that decline has been – and how one riverbed in Mid-Canterbury is going … Continue reading Longterm banded dotterel study shows predator control benefits

Close up photo of Ruddy Turnstone

Banding aims to uncover turnstone migration mystery

It’s a bit like putting a message in a bottle – banding migratory birds and seeing where else in the world those specific bands are spotted by fellow birdwatchers. But it has a purpose that goes beyond curiosity about migration routes. Many migratory birds are declining in numbers. So where on their global travels is … Continue reading Banding aims to uncover turnstone migration mystery

Karen Schumacher releases a kokako.

A salute to our conservation heroines

Conservation heroines – they’re all around us… everyday people like your neighbour, your Mum, your friend, or that clever inventor who lives at the end of your street. Conservation heroines are women who are using their passion, skills and talents to help our endangered wildlife to survive and thrive in our neighbourhoods and in the … Continue reading A salute to our conservation heroines

A deer in amongst leaves

Monitoring shows ungulates increasing on public conservation land

Not all introduced mammals are predators. Apart from omnivorous pigs, the 14 types of ungulate (hooved) mammals introduced here over the years are all plant-grazers of one sort or another. But restoring habitat and removing predators go hand-in-hand if we’re to reverse the downward spiral of our native wildlife. Large, heavy-hooved browsing mammals can damage … Continue reading Monitoring shows ungulates increasing on public conservation land

Melissa Boardman in the forest

Appreciating what lies beyond the forest’s edge: Interview with Illustrator, Melissa Boardman

Melissa Boardman is an illustrator passionate about native birds, conservation and the environment. She frequently visits predator free sanctuaries across Aotearoa where she spends her time observing and photographing birds in their natural habitats.  Recently, Melissa published her first book, Birds of New Zealand: Collective Nouns, a beautifully illustrated hardback featuring over 90 native bird … Continue reading Appreciating what lies beyond the forest’s edge: Interview with Illustrator, Melissa Boardman

Green gecko on a leaf

New home for barking geckos in successful penned release

Small, slow-moving in cold weather and with limited defenses other than camouflage and hiding, our skinks and geckos are vulnerable to predators – but efforts to relocate some of them to sanctuaries haven’t always been successful. Researchers have been refining their methods, however, and a recent translocation of barking geckos suggests they’re definitely on the … Continue reading New home for barking geckos in successful penned release

A stoat perched on a rock

Burning questions, conservation conundrums – kiwi researchers share insights on key research challenges

What don’t we know? What challenges need further investigation? In January of this year, Predator Free 2050 Ltd announced two funding initiatives – one for doctorate and post-doctorate research at tertiary and research institutions and the other for ‘Products to Projects’, where the aim is to ‘help fast track the design, research and development, testing, … Continue reading Burning questions, conservation conundrums – kiwi researchers share insights on key research challenges

Wetland in a soft sunset light

Multiple methods demonstrate wetland restoration benefits

Once we called them swamps and thought of these places – if we thought of them at all – as potential farmland and subdivisions, muddy, boggy and waiting to be drained. Nowadays they’re ‘wetlands’ and its not just the labelling that’s changed. Our attitudes are slowly changing too. We’re beginning to understand the value – … Continue reading Multiple methods demonstrate wetland restoration benefits

A bridge amongs ferns

What’s outside the fence matters too

Fenced sanctuaries don’t come cheap – but they do offer a way to create areas of rich, predator free habitat for vulnerable species. But what about the habitat outside the fence? Most research to date has looked at ‘inside the fence’ habitat and bird populations, but good habitat beyond the boundary can offer extra food … Continue reading What’s outside the fence matters too

New book invites children to be ‘nature heroes’ too

New Zealand Nature Heroes by Gillian Candler (Published by Potton and Burton) is a book I would have loved to have received as a child. New Zealand Nature Heroes is intended for an 8-14 years age group, it is pitched as ‘inspiration and activities for young conservationists’ and the book is exactly that. Each section … Continue reading New book invites children to be ‘nature heroes’ too

Goat Island from the mainland

Goat Island rat abundance measured in multiple ways

Markus Gronwald and James Russell from the University of Auckland recently measured rat relative abundance on Goat Island, 70km north of Auckland. Both camera traps and digital strike counters for Goodnature A24 self-resetting traps were used and the results compared. A total of 7155 videos, more than 119 hours of footage, from 2161 camera days … Continue reading Goat Island rat abundance measured in multiple ways

Chris Goulding from DOC holding a great spotted kiwi/roroa during a release in Kahurangi National Park in 2016. Photo: DOC (via Wikimedia Commons).

Volunteers monitor kiwi dispersal for 8 years

Between 2010 and 2016, the community group Friends of Flora Inc., in partnership with the Department of Conservation, translocated 44 roroa (great spotted kiwi, Apteryx haastii) to the Flora Stream area in Kahurangi National Park. But that was just the beginning of the project. Each kiwi was fitted with a VHF transmitter and, for the … Continue reading Volunteers monitor kiwi dispersal for 8 years

Weka and chick

Are weka ‘good predators’?

Weka can be engaging and entertaining, but their opportunistic appetite for other birds’ eggs and chicks can cop them some controversy. They’re not always welcome at ecosanctuaries, for example, even though their own numbers are threatened. Native predators like weka, harrier hawks and falcons were once part of a balanced ecosystem. Not all wildlife predators … Continue reading Are weka ‘good predators’?

Hidden haven off Coromandel’s 309 Road

Take a drive along Coromandel’s spectacular scenic 309 Road and there’s a spot, somewhere around halfway between Coromandel town and Whitianga where a tarseal street branches off from the famous winding gravel 309. A steel security gate stops the curious from venturing any further without an invitation – so what actually lies beyond? Believe it … Continue reading Hidden haven off Coromandel’s 309 Road

River tested as reinvasion obstacle to possums

Reinvasion by predators, of previously cleared areas, is one of the many challenges of becoming predator free. We can’t fence huge tracts of wilderness – but we can potentially make use of natural barriers. Possums, for example, may be reluctant to cross rivers. Anecdotal reports that rivers are an obstacle to possum expansion have been … Continue reading River tested as reinvasion obstacle to possums

Lizards counted on predator free Kāpiti Island

What a difference 20 years makes! The lizards of Kāpiti Island have now had 20 years of living rat-free and researchers Jennifer Gollin, Nic Gorman and Doug Armstrong have been checking out the little reptiles to see how much better they’re doing. The report on the results of their island survey in the New Zealand … Continue reading Lizards counted on predator free Kāpiti Island

Image of a grassy paddock with a few sheep

Researchers survey farmer attitudes to biodiversity

What are New Zealand beef and sheep farmers’ views on managing and protecting native biodiversity on-farm and what barriers do they face to taking positive action? Those were some of the issues investigated in a nation-wide phone survey. Fleur Maseyk and colleagues report on their findings in the latest issue of the New Zealand Journal … Continue reading Researchers survey farmer attitudes to biodiversity

Mamaku Point ranger doesn’t let age hold him back

Ernie Mason remembers that growing up, helping his parents break in their farm, he was always a kid for the bush… always hunting. Its a love that’s stayed with him throughout his working life. At 72 years old Ernie is still going strong, working around 15 days per month as biosecurity ranger at Mamaku Point … Continue reading Mamaku Point ranger doesn’t let age hold him back

Rifleman on a branch

Less stress = translocation success for tiny rifleman

Translocation is an important tool for conservation management – but it comes with risks. The capture and transfer process can be highly stressful to wildlife. Some individuals can and have died. Finding ways to reduce translocation stress can save lives. And the lives that are saved are often those of rare and endangered taonga. So … Continue reading Less stress = translocation success for tiny rifleman

Kiwi require specific bird count methods.

Know your bird calls – human brain vs hard-drive

It was human vs hard-drive in Rawhiti, Northland when researchers pitted volunteer bird enthusiasts of various ages and experience against Autonomous Recording Units (ARUs). Senses were pitted against sensors to see who (or what) was best at detecting and identifying calls. Both humans and machines had their strengths and weaknesses, the researchers found. Bird monitoring … Continue reading Know your bird calls – human brain vs hard-drive

Farm between two forests rich in rare wildlife

Dan Herries manages Taramoa Station in Puketitiri, Hawke’s Bay, a 564 hectare sheep and beef farm which lies between two significant and beautiful blocks of forest – an 800-year-old, unmilled podocarp forest known as Ball’s Clearing Scenic Reserve and Kaweka Forest Park where once-burnt faces have now regenerated with manuka and softwoods and original red … Continue reading Farm between two forests rich in rare wildlife

Rats, mice and 264,457 tracking records shed light on rodent dynamics

Researchers Susan Walker, Joshua Kemp, Graeme Elliott, Corey Mosen and John Innes used 264,457 rodent tracking records collected quarterly from 23,709 tracking tunnel stations in forests across the length and breadth of New Zealand over an 18 year period from late 1999 to late 2016 to get a clearer picture of how ship rat and … Continue reading Rats, mice and 264,457 tracking records shed light on rodent dynamics

Image of vineyards

‘Wine wētā’ makes itself at home in Marlborough vineyards

It’s not often you hear of native species benefitting from human modifications of its habitat – but one little-known wētā species has gone against trend and embraced the changes in its world. It’s been nicknamed the ‘wine wētā’ due to its fondness for hanging out in Marlborough vineyards and scientists have recently been trying to … Continue reading ‘Wine wētā’ makes itself at home in Marlborough vineyards

Aaron and Raine team up to tackle predators at Shelly Beach

On the Coromandel Peninsula, individuals and organisations are coming together to tackle predators and protect the local wildlife and stunning surroundings. This is just one of their stories. Aaron McFarlane and his family are first-time holiday park owners. “My parents bought Shelly Beach TOP 10 Holiday Park about 3 years ago,” Aaron explains, “The beachside … Continue reading Aaron and Raine team up to tackle predators at Shelly Beach

Image of green countryside

When economics meets ecology – assessing the ‘ecosystem services’ of farmland

Wetland areas and covenanted bush blocks on farms have a clear ecological value, but do they have an economic value as well? The answer is yes. But that leads to another question. How can you assess the economic value of an area of wetland or remnant forest that isn’t producing saleable crops or providing grazing … Continue reading When economics meets ecology – assessing the ‘ecosystem services’ of farmland

Polynesian Rat in the Maui Forest Parking lot.

Study looks at kiore when rival rat species absent

The kiore is Aotearoa’s first, smallest and sometimes overlooked rat. It was also our first introduced mammal predator, arriving about 750 years ago with seafaring Polynesian explorers. Because of its arrival history, the kiore is considered both a threat to our native taonga and also a taonga itself – an unusual position for any New … Continue reading Study looks at kiore when rival rat species absent

Tūī numbers treble in predator control study

When you remove predators from islands and restore forest habitat, the expectation is that native forest birds will flourish and that the new ‘improved’ conditions may favour native birds over introduced species. But is that what happens? Researchers John Ralph, Carol Ralph and Linda Long looked at how bird populations on the seven islands and … Continue reading Tūī numbers treble in predator control study

A close up of beech trees

Blue Mountains study shows 1080 effective – even for hedgehogs, mice

In the past there’s been some uncertainty over the effectiveness of large-scale aerial 1080 operations to control mice and little is known about its effect on hedgehogs. Recent trail camera monitoring of mammal predators before and after a control operation in the Blue Mountains, West Otago, suggests the operation not only controlled rats, stoats and … Continue reading Blue Mountains study shows 1080 effective – even for hedgehogs, mice

A flying bat in the night

Native bats may have fern dispersal role

University of Auckland researchers, James Brock and Kathleen Collier, have discovered yet another reason why we really should appreciate our native bat species. It seems short-tailed bats have a role to play in spreading fern spores throughout the forest, helping the spores to spread a greater distance than they might otherwise manage without a helping … Continue reading Native bats may have fern dispersal role

A possum and rat interacting with bait station

Dave Edwards aims to make Sentinel possum traps more user friendly

Traps need a powerful spring mechanism to kill humanely and that can make them difficult and a bit daunting to set, especially traps designed for larger pests and predators like possums and ferrets. Dave Edwards is a retired engineer, long-time community trapper (for Bay of Plenty kiwi and kōkako groups) and an innovative investigator. After … Continue reading Dave Edwards aims to make Sentinel possum traps more user friendly

A windswept forest

Ancient totara dune forest becomes new Southland reserve

In the far south of the South Island, in Otatara, Southland, there is a totara dune forest where ancient trees bend and twist and brace themselves against the prevailing winds. Sculpted by the winds, they grow in unusual shapes on the higher parts of the dry sand dunes. “Totara dune forests are unusual and pretty … Continue reading Ancient totara dune forest becomes new Southland reserve

A wētā on a tree fern

Study compares beetle and wētā responses to mammal eradication

Wētā are one of our most studied insects and are regarded as ‘bioindicators’ of the health of forest ecosystems. So when introduced predators – including mice – were removed from Maungatautari, the response of the local wētā population was followed closely by researchers. But how well does the wētā response reflect what’s happening to other … Continue reading Study compares beetle and wētā responses to mammal eradication

No easy answers, but eradication efforts ongoing for Resolution Island

When the Resolution Island Stoat Eradication Programme began in Dusky Sound, Fiordland in 2008 no-one said it would be easy and, 12 years later there are still stoats on Resolution. But Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger, Peter McMurtrie, won’t be giving up any time soon. “There are two issues, Pete explains. “Firstly, there are some … Continue reading No easy answers, but eradication efforts ongoing for Resolution Island

Image of a fantail sitting on a branch

Putting the case for using Māori bird names

Should we be making a greater effort to use Māori bird names in science communication and environmental reporting – promoting their wider everyday use in the community? The answer seems an obvious yes! If fact we already have tūī, kea and kākā, for example. So what’s stopping us? Priscilla Wehi, Lyn Carter, Te Waiarani Harawira, … Continue reading Putting the case for using Māori bird names

An illustration of three huia on the branches of a tree

World’s most expensive feather symbolises Huia’s fate

How much would you pay for a feather? In June 2010 a single huia tail feather sold at auction in Auckland for NZ$8,000 – making it the world’s most expensive feather ever. The previous ‘record-holder’ was the American bald eagle, with an eagle feather selling for a mere NZ$4,000 at a US auction. The popularity … Continue reading World’s most expensive feather symbolises Huia’s fate

Farm biodiversity map highlights falcons, kākahi and glowworms

Mark and Felicity Brough have created a biodiversity map of their sheep and beef farm at Paerua near Waitomo, in the central King Country. It shows where on the farm their resident falcons are nesting, which streams have kākahi (freshwater mussels), where longfin and shortfin tuna are found and where the glowworms live. “Two or … Continue reading Farm biodiversity map highlights falcons, kākahi and glowworms

A herd of lovely looking cows

Biodiversity and farming – achieving win-win outcomes

‘Rules stifle innovation,’ say researchers looking at how we can achieve win-win outcomes for pastoral farming and biodiversity conservation in New Zealand. “To obtain win-win outcomes for biodiversity conservation, pastoral farming and New Zealanders generally, we need to avoid letting our policy systems (national, regional and district) fall back on a strict rules-based approach. This … Continue reading Biodiversity and farming – achieving win-win outcomes

A group of little penguins

Little penguin breeding success includes ‘triple brooding’

Little penguins in Kaikōura have been doing their bit to try and keep species numbers buoyant – with multiple nesting per breeding season and some birds even resorting to a bit of partner-swapping. It all helped bring successful fledgling numbers up to 1.66 chicks per pair, according to researchers, Lindsay Rowe, Jody Weir and Alastair … Continue reading Little penguin breeding success includes ‘triple brooding’

A cat looking out a window

Fenced in felines – keeping cats and wildlife safe

Barbara Clarke’s cats, Sammy and Smudge enjoy a fantastic view over the Pukawa bush reserve from their favourite sunspot on the deck. But because they’re indoor cats that’s as close as they get to the rich birdlife and insect life in the adjacent forest. Pukawa is located roughly halfway between Turangi and Taumarunui. Barbara and … Continue reading Fenced in felines – keeping cats and wildlife safe

A kereru on a branch

Kaitiakitanga and urban restoration

How might traditional concepts and values of kaitiakitanga be included more holistically in urban restoration projects? Authors Erana Walker, Priscilla Wehi, Nicola Nelson, Jacqueline Beggs and Hēmi Whaanga discuss what kaitiakitanga means, its significance to Māori and the contribution kaitiakitanga can make to improve urban environmental outcomes. Their article was recently published in the New … Continue reading Kaitiakitanga and urban restoration

A bee on purple lavender

Otago researchers look at uptake of wildlife gardening

Home gardens collectively make up a big chunk of the total green space in our cities, which means they have huge potential to support urban diversity. So how do we encourage more people to become wildlife gardeners? University of Otago researchers Yolanda van Heezik, Claire Freeman, Katherine Davidson and Blake Lewis invited residents of two … Continue reading Otago researchers look at uptake of wildlife gardening

Lockdown project reveals abundance of backyard birds

Have you got a resident fantail that hangs out in your garden? Are you sure there’s just the one? When Auckland University’s Dr James Russell banded the birds in his home garden he was amazed to find his ‘resident pīwakawaka’ was actually 36 different fantails all visiting his garden at different times. It all began … Continue reading Lockdown project reveals abundance of backyard birds

NZ brushtail possum. Image credit.

Dual 1080 bait switch solves bait-shy possum issues

When researchers tested a dual baiting regime on ship rats back in 2016-2017, they also made some interesting observations about possum behaviour in their study area. Could dual baiting be adapted to overcome the bait-shy behaviour of possum survivors too? Department of Conservation and Landcare Research scientists, Graham Nugent, Richard Clayton, Bruce Warburton and Tim … Continue reading Dual 1080 bait switch solves bait-shy possum issues

A rat eating a snail

Rats on the move – how far do they disperse?

How far might young rats disperse if they find themselves in a place with few other rat competitors? It’s an important question, with implications for deciding what surveillance is needed to detect invasions in predator-free islands, sanctuaries and ultimately, large predator-free mainland areas. But to find out how far rats disperse you need to release … Continue reading Rats on the move – how far do they disperse?

Yealands Estate adds trapping to their eco-friendly initiatives

Tara Smith is Sustainability Manager for Yealands Estate. The role is a new one – she started in May 2019 – but sustainability has been part of the Yealands vision since the vineyard’s beginnings in 2008. Recently the Yealands team have added predator trapping to their long list of eco-friendly initiatives. Each day Tara and … Continue reading Yealands Estate adds trapping to their eco-friendly initiatives

A group of hoiho by the ocean

Checking up on the other yellow-eyed penguins

Yellow-eyed penguins (YEPs) are endemic and endangered and the Otago population is declining with poor breeding seasons and high adult mortality. But YEPs live in the sub-Antarctic too. Somewhere between 37% and 49% of the total YEP breeding population are thought to breed in the Auckland Islands for example – especially on Enderby Island. So … Continue reading Checking up on the other yellow-eyed penguins

Wide path and exclusion fence-line

What’s happening up in the hood?

Sanctuary fences keep predators out – but they’ve also become a popular ‘highway’ for ship rats travelling around the sanctuary exterior. Rats have discovered that the rolled steel hood (designed to stop mammals climbing over the fence), also makes a great way to get around, safely out of reach of their own predators like stoats … Continue reading What’s happening up in the hood?

Stromness across the water

Kiwi company exports NZ trapping expertise

Traps developed in New Zealand aren’t just saving our wildlife, they’re helping endangered wildlife all around the world. We lead the way in producing humane, effective traps – and the rest of the world is taking notice, with new export markets opening up for our trap manufacturers. CMI Ltd, which manufactures DOC Series traps (DOC … Continue reading Kiwi company exports NZ trapping expertise

Winton company takes on Motu Ngahere restoration project

On the Southland Plains near Winton, Motu Ngahere (‘Island of Bush’) is one of the very few original native bush remnants left in the area – literally an ‘island’ in the rural landscape. The name was chosen after seeking consultation with local iwi. “It’s the last lowland rata/broadleaf podocarp forest left in Central Southland, other … Continue reading Winton company takes on Motu Ngahere restoration project

A drawing depicting a Haast's eagle hunting a moa

Human impact on NZ birds measured in millions of years

The conservation decisions we make today will have an impact for millions of years! That’s the conclusion of authors Luis Valente, Rampal Etienne and Juan Garcia, who use New Zealand’s unique bird species as an example of the macroevolutionary impact of humans, in an article recently published in Current Biology. So why did this team … Continue reading Human impact on NZ birds measured in millions of years

Map of Auckland Island

Auckland Islands introductions included horses, possums, chickens

Did you know there were once horses on the Auckland Islands? Possums were deliberately introduced too but didn’t last long. Hardly surprising. It’s a harsh environment and not remotely like their warm Australian homeland. Scientists investigating mammal predators in the Auckland Islands group have switched to studying history recently, looking at the very early records … Continue reading Auckland Islands introductions included horses, possums, chickens

A close up image of a tūī

Alert Level 3 —what you can and can’t do

Most recently updated 12pm 28 April We are now in Level 3. We know a number of you are looking forward to getting back to your projects and checking and rebaiting your traps and bait stations. We’ve been trying to get the most up to date information so you can be clear on what you … Continue reading Alert Level 3 —what you can and can’t do

Students in the bush

Better together? A review of community conservation hubs in New Zealand

Community conservation hubs are the subject of much, if very recent, discussion in New Zealand. As a result the Predator Free NZ Trust recently commissioned a report from The Catalyst Group’s Dr Marie Doole (nee Brown) looking into hubs, their challenges, benefits and what support they need to ensure success. In recent years community conservation … Continue reading Better together? A review of community conservation hubs in New Zealand

Close up of gull against a grey sky

Drone technology offers low impact method for seabird census

The Ashburton/Hakatere River mouth in Mid Canterbury is a nesting site for large colonies of black-billed gulls and white-fronted terns and proved an ideal study site for testing the bird census capabilities of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) compared to more traditional bird count methods. When the results came in, the researchers made a bonus … Continue reading Drone technology offers low impact method for seabird census