Cats and dogs are both predators of rats – but to what extent is the presence of cats and/or dogs a deterrent to rodents? How do you even measure how ‘nervous’ a rat feels? Scientists in far-off Swaziland used some interesting techniques to determine how uneasy rats felt in the presence of … [Read more...] about Investigating a rat’s ‘landscape of fear’
Not every species can be saved by moving it to a predator free island. It has helped the black robin - but it won’t help the black-fronted tern. Islands simply don’t have the habitat that the terns need to breed. Black-fronted terns have a small, declining population and are classified as … [Read more...] about No sanctuary option for terns
In New Zealand we tend to focus on the harm rats do to our wildlife and ecosystems. But there’s another side to rats that’s even closer to home – their ability to carry diseases and parasites to people. From pig farms in Canada to the slums of Brazil, recent international research has been looking … [Read more...] about Rats and human disease links
Tracking tunnels, chew cards and WaxTags© are commonly used to detect predator presence and monitor abundance, but in recent years there’s been a new tool in the conservation kit – the remote camera. Evaluations of its use are showing that it is a tool with a lot of promise and some significant … [Read more...] about Detecting predators in the city – what works best?
How much trapping does it take to make a difference? Sometimes even a small difference can make all the difference to a species that is at a borderline point for sustaining its population. In a recent edition of the New Zealand Ornithological Society’s journal Notornis, DOC scientists Jane … [Read more...] about Takahe protection benefits the neighbours
When possums live in an urban landscape, their fondness for fruit, flowers and foliage quickly makes then unpopular with gardeners. They can be noisy on the roof at night too. But the impact they’re having on local birdlife may not be quite so obvious. Well fed on apples and roses, urban possums … [Read more...] about Urban possums – it’s not just about the roses
Anticoagulant poisons are commonly used to kill rats in New Zealand and around the world. But at least 18 countries in Europe, America and Asia have reported growing resistance in their rat populations to these poisons. Are our rats growing bait-resistant too? Phil Cowan et al from Landcare Research … [Read more...] about Rat bait resistance – should we be worried?
It could have been so much worse... red foxes, Patagonian foxes, mongooses (or should that be mongeese?) – even badgers were proposed as a solution to New Zealand’s rampant rabbit problem back in the late 1800s. One entrepreneur actually thought burrowing owls might sort the rabbits out. Prof … [Read more...] about Narrow escape makes horror reading
Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) and black rats (also known as ship rats), (Rattus rattus), are among the most prolific and widespread urban pest species in the world. But what do we know about their secret city lives? After all – the more we know, the better we can understand what we’re up … [Read more...] about Secret life of urban rats revealed
When stoats were recently captured on video raiding the spring nests of rock wren, yet tracking tunnels failed to detect their presence, scientists became concerned about the effectiveness of tracking tunnels as a monitoring method in alpine regions. Was there a better way to detect stoats? How did … [Read more...] about Capturing the cryptic – finding better ways to detect stoats