Rat in some leaf litter

Troubleshooting tips: what to do when your rat trap isn’t catching any rats

We’ve pulled together some tips to make your trap more effective. The short version: know your rats, switch lures, move traps or get the neighbours involved. 1. Know your rat To trap rats successfully, you need to know more about them, specifically their behaviours and what motivates them. Here are some interesting facts you should … Continue reading Troubleshooting tips: what to do when your rat trap isn’t catching any rats

Native chippy pinchers: 5 surprising facts about our native gulls

What comes to mind when you think of a gull? Noisy seaside neighbours? Picnic scavengers? How about declining species? 1. Three types of native gulls We’ve got three species of native gull in Aotearoa New Zealand. There’s the big guys: karoro (black-backed gull). You can recognise them by their size and the little red mark … Continue reading Native chippy pinchers: 5 surprising facts about our native gulls

A shining cuckoo being fed by its grey warbler foster parent.

Mystery, migration and mucous membranes: 5 curious facts about the shining cuckoo

In early September, a unique summer visitor to Aotearoa begins to grace our shores, migrating from the tropics. The pīpīwharauroa (shining cuckoo) certainly make an impression with their intriguing behaviours. From unusual breeding strategies to quirky culinary tastes, here are 5 curious facts about the shining cuckoo. 1. You won’t see a shining cuckoo raising … Continue reading Mystery, migration and mucous membranes: 5 curious facts about the shining cuckoo

Elephant weevil.

5 weird and wonderful native animals that aren’t birds

Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity extends far beyond our feathery friends. Prepare to be wowed by these five native species, from bizarre fuzzy weevils to very smelly bats. Elephant weevils – the fuzzy architects of the trees The elephant weevil is a strange critter found throughout New Zealand. This stout little insect is adorned with an … Continue reading 5 weird and wonderful native animals that aren’t birds

Man checks a Sentinel possum trap.

Troubleshooting tips: what to do if your possum trap isn’t catching any possums

So, you’ve set your possum trap, hoping to make a dent in the possum population destroying your fruit trees and eating birds’ eggs and invertebrates in your backyard…but your trap remains untouched. It’s time to try our troubleshooting tips to turn your luck around: 1. Find the right spot First things first, let’s check your … Continue reading Troubleshooting tips: what to do if your possum trap isn’t catching any possums

Waiter hands with platters holding different lures.

What’s on the menu? 5 lures that aren’t peanut butter

Is peanut butter not attracting predators like it used to? Let’s shake things up with five lures that’ll make your trap the hottest dining spot for rats, stoats or possums. But first, we need to understand the feeding behaviour of the introduced predators we’re trying to trap. Rats are the ultimate omnivores. They don’t discriminate … Continue reading What’s on the menu? 5 lures that aren’t peanut butter

A volunteer servicing a trap line

5 insights from women in conservation

The gender gap in conservation is no secret — fewer than 30 percent of the world’s researchers are women. In celebration of International Women’s Day, we spoke to five women in conservation with advice and insights to inspire others to realise “I can do that, too.” 1. Being inspired by the taonga you’re protecting – Sarah … Continue reading 5 insights from women in conservation

A kākāpo

Why kākāpō are called kākāpō and other wildlife names

In Aotearoa New Zealand Māori are ‘tangata whenua’ – people of the land. This reflects the importance of te taiao (the environment) to Māori identity, culture, and tikanga.  Te reo Māori is shaped by the unique environment and wildlife. There is a depth of meaning to te reo Māori words. Often a one or two-word … Continue reading Why kākāpō are called kākāpō and other wildlife names

An albatross parent on the nest with its chick

Royal succession: the changing role of human help for the survival of toroa

Rearing royalty takes a team at Pukekura/Taiaroa Head. Since the 1930s, the toroa (northern royal albatross) colony on the Otago Peninsula have had human helpers ensuring their survival. So, how has the management of these toroa evolved? We spoke to Sharyn and Jim – who are part of the team intensively managing these special birds. … Continue reading Royal succession: the changing role of human help for the survival of toroa

Mōhua on a branch.

Where have all the custard-heads gone? 5 facts on our rare mōhua

With the affectionate nickname of custard-head, it should be easy to recognise the mōhua (yellowhead). Their bright yellow plumage donning their heads should be a giveaway, right? Wrong. Did you know mōhua have an avian impersonator? Here we take a look at these fascinating birds, their interesting quirks, and the biggest challenges to their survival. … Continue reading Where have all the custard-heads gone? 5 facts on our rare mōhua

Sarah with a kākāpō

IWD2022: kākāpō cartooning with Sarah Little

Self-confessed bird nerd Sarah Little spends most days caring for kākāpo. She’s a Department of Conservation ranger out on predator free island Whenua Hou (Codfish Island) protecting our rare kākāpō from extinction. Even in her spare time, Sarah is creating art with a message. Her popular cartoons are making the predator free movement fun and … Continue reading IWD2022: kākāpō cartooning with Sarah Little

Sara on a boulder in a forest.

IWD2022: protecting Mahakirau with Sara Smerdon

Every day, conservation volunteers like Sara Smerdon work towards getting their patch predator free. But unlike most, Sara lives in the very forest she protects. This International Women’s Day we chatted with Sara who (along with her husband) is one of 24 landowners of The Mahakirau Forest Estate in the Coromandel – a native forest … Continue reading IWD2022: protecting Mahakirau with Sara Smerdon

John teaching a predator control workshop

How do you make a habitat safe for kiwi? A Q&A with John Bissell

John Bissell of Save the Kiwi wants quality, not quantity, predator control. “Give me better, not just more,” says John.  John is Save the Kiwi’s National Predator Advisor. He works on projects across the country specialising in high-quality predator control to protect threatened species like kiwi. John is a predator control expert with many years … Continue reading How do you make a habitat safe for kiwi? A Q&A with John Bissell

A group of flying birds.

The godwits have returned: A Q&A with Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre

Kuaka/bar-tailed godwits have the right idea. Along with other migratory birds, they enjoy an endless summer. We’re chatting with Keith Woodley today who is the centre’s manager. Thank you so much for speaking with us today, Keith. Each year, as the northern hemisphere’s summer comes to an end, these long-haul experts leave their Alaskan breeding grounds … Continue reading The godwits have returned: A Q&A with Pūkorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre

5 reasons why it’s time to join your local trapping group

New Zealanders join trapping groups for a number of reasons. They may want to protect our native species, leave our country in a better state for future generations or they may feel a strong sense of personal responsibility. Beyond the selfless motivations, joining a trapping group can be of great personal benefit. There are hundreds … Continue reading 5 reasons why it’s time to join your local trapping group

A group of school children planting

Fostering the birds of Manukapua: Q&A with Tapora Land & Coast Care Group

Kia Puawai ai ngā taonga o Manukapua (fostering the birds of Manukapua) is the project and kaupapa of the Tapora Land & Coast Care Group. This dedicated group is restoring Manukapua, a special sand dune island that holds cultural, spiritual, historical and ecological significance.  Manukapua, also known as Big Sand Island, is located on the … Continue reading Fostering the birds of Manukapua: Q&A with Tapora Land & Coast Care Group

Rod standing on a big boulder

Backyard Legends: Rod Morris, Nature Photographer & Conservationist

Rod Morris has been telling stories about our natural history for more than four decades. He’s been a zookeeper, a teacher, an author, and a wildlife ranger. For half of that period, he was a natural-history filmmaker, producing and directing documentaries about some of our best-loved birds – kiwi, kākāpō, kōkako, kea, kakī (black stilt), … Continue reading Backyard Legends: Rod Morris, Nature Photographer & Conservationist

Photographing our lesser-known natives: A Q&A with Sam the animal man

Wildlife photographer Sam Purdie is capturing our lesser-known natives on camera. He hopes that by photographing them, it will raise the awareness of these special and often endangered species. Sam is a self-described ‘animal man’ who has studied zoology and is passionate about all of our native fauna – great and small.  We’re speaking with Sam … Continue reading Photographing our lesser-known natives: A Q&A with Sam the animal man

Two men with traps at a stall

Predator Free Backyard Funding 2021 Announced

We are pleased to announce eleven community groups who will receive Predator Free Backyard Communities funding. We received over a hundred applications and the majority were from highly motivated groups ready to make a difference in their communities. Friends of Riverpark Reserve, Auckland Friends of Riverpark Reserve is an existing group that has made great … Continue reading Predator Free Backyard Funding 2021 Announced

Ranger, illustrator and bird nerd: Sarah Little

Sarah Little spends her time caring for kākāpo on Whenua Hou, tramping around Aotearoa and telling conservation stories through her popular cartoons.  Today, we’re chatting with the incredible conservationist behind the cartoons. Sarah, thank you so much for the opportunity to interview you today.  Firstly, what sparked your passion for conservation? I’ve been obsessed with … Continue reading Ranger, illustrator and bird nerd: Sarah Little

How to keep your compost rodent free: A Q&A with an Expert from Compost Collective

Composting has many benefits: it enriches soil, reduces waste and is great for the environment. The Compost Collective is a collaborative project aimed at helping New Zealand households engage in composting and organic waste reduction. Thousands of New Zealanders are already composting, however, the bins may attract rats and mice to feast on your food … Continue reading How to keep your compost rodent free: A Q&A with an Expert from Compost Collective

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?