What do we know about the effects of introduced mammalian predators in the alpine environment? The short answer is probably ‘not much’. DOC scientists Colin O’Donnell, Kerry Weston and Joanne Monks review the little that we do know in the latest volume of the NZ Journal of Ecology. They identify important gaps in our knowledge and … Continue reading Alpine predator impacts little understood
‘Citizen Science’ and academia worked together in a research project near Nelson to determine the effectiveness of a predator control programme in boosting bird numbers and also to evaluate the usefulness of a bird survey method as an easy-to-use monitoring tool for volunteer conservation groups. The study was carried out from 2002-2010 and published in … Continue reading Alternative bird survey method investigated
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 … Continue reading Bird by-kill – what research reveals
Rats are quick and nimble. Snails… not so much. So our native snails are very much at the mercy of introduced rats, should rats choose to eat them. What’s more, there are a surprisingly large number of native snail species to protect. New Zealand has, in fact, one of the most species-rich land-snail fauna in … Continue reading Rats – are they gastropod gourmets?
There are a number of physical and behavioural traits which can make New Zealand’s native bird species particularly vulnerable to introduced predators. In the absence of mammalian predators some, like the kiwi, evolved to become flightless. Others forage on the ground or nest in tree cavities where not only the chicks, but also the incubating … Continue reading What makes our endangered birds so vulnerable?
Trap-wary stoats got caught out by a change in predator control regime according to research just published in July this year. The research, carried out by DOC scientists and published in the New Zealand Journal of Zoology, took place in the 9800 ha Whangarei Kiwi Sanctuary. The results showed why it’s good to mix it … Continue reading Research shows what’s working for kiwi and kaka
Scientific research often involves painstaking, meticulous measurement, sometimes repeated over a period of years before the work is completed – then it has to be analysed, written up equally meticulously and an academic publisher found. Not everyone has the patience or the persistence, but the results of such attention to detail can be fascinating and … Continue reading Research takes the long view on native species
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 short-tailed bats sing to attract females who choose a mate … Continue reading Batty behaviour intrigues scientists
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 Don Merton along with … Continue reading 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 mice … Continue reading 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 ‘Million Dollar Mouse’ … Continue reading Antipodes and the impact of mice
We know New Zealand’s native birds aren’t thriving – but what about the little guys – the VERY little guys? What’s happening with our insects and other invertebrates? Today’s Friday blog looks at what recent research can tell us about our smallest natives: what some of their challenges are and what we can do to … Continue reading Invertebrates – looking after the little guys
No-one wants to see the birds and other wildlife we’re trying to protect, killed or in any way harmed by the very methods we use to protect them from predators, either by consuming bait or being accidentally caught in traps. It’s a delicate balance and often a controversial subject where strong opinions are held. Today … Continue reading Bait residue issues