There are similarities and differences in the why and how of predator control in Britain and New Zealand and understanding these shows some interesting differences.
The English gamekeeper and the New Zealand predator manager share several similarities but also have several important differences. Both target population control at rodents and mustelids and both do this to benefit populations of birds.
In New Zealand habitats, predator managers target rodents and mustelids that are invasive mammals who are predators of native wildlife. In the English countryside gamekeepers target rodents and mustelids that are native mammals who are predators of native wildlife.
On the rugged east coast of Great Barrier Island one family's predator control project demonstrates how trapping can reduce and suppress rodents so their recovering native forest can support more wildlife.
Each morning the eastern coastline of Aotea Great Barrier Island faces the rising sun of a new day and the vast empty expanses of the South Pacific Ocean. If you were to travel due east your next landfall would be near the city of Concepcion in Chile more than 9,200 km away. Aotea Great Barrier is an island literally standing at the edge of the eastern hemisphere.
This beautiful coastline is a mix of sweeping crescents of white sand, some like Kaitoke that are measured in kilometers and some like Awana that are tucked into smaller bays. Between these beaches with rolling surf and crystal clear water are rocky headlands with a smattering of small islets and offshore rock stacks.
Island predator eradication projects demonstrate the challenges of successfully planning and removing invasive predators so vulnerable wildlife populations can recover.
Between August 2018 and February 2019 we made an extensive research trip to seven inhabited offshore islands to visit predator eradication projects and learn first hand from the people involved with the projects the challenges they have faced, the successes they have achieved and the frustrations they have overcome.
You can read more about each of the projects that we visited through our Island Galleries where we have provided some insight into each project.
Nicks Head Station is a significant site in both the history of human settlement in Aotearoa and the future of New Zealand conservation.
Standing as the southern headland of Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay with dramatic white cliffs towering over stunning blue ocean, many New Zealanders know Young Nicks Head as the first land sighted by Nicholas Young aloft in the rigging of the Endeavour as Lieutenant James Cook and his crew sailed towards the European rediscovery of New Zealand in 1769.
Fewer New Zealanders will know this prominent headland was also the landing place of the Horouta and Te Ikaroa-a-Rauru waka that together brought voyaging Māori settlers to this part of Aotearoa around 400 years before Cook. Even fewer people will know that today this iconic landscape is the location of an award winning landscape restoration and conservation project set within a working agricultural farm.
The ambitious Cape to City project is an exemplar of landscape scale predator control and a conference is a great way to share lessons learnt and experience gained.
Over three days of beautiful spring weather we attended the Cape To City Transforming Biodiversity conference held in Napier from November 14 to 16. This well attended conference covered predator control work and research being carried out as part of the twin projects of Cape to City and Poutiri Ao o Tane.
The bi-annual PestEx trade show is a window into current trends of pest control technology development from niche developers to multi-national companies.
During March we attended the PestEx 2017 trade show held at the ExCel Centre in London. This bi-annual trade show is one of the largest pest control trade shows held in Europe.
It provided a fantastic opportunity to see developments in pest control technology from niche companies to global multi-nationals. The show had a wide range of trade exhibitors and was augmented with lectures and seminars to pass on technical information to pest control operators, Its central food court allowed people to meet and chat meaning there was no need to leave the show during your visit.
What's in a Name?
The familiar saying "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" warns about the risks that come with trying to achieve more by challenging the status quo.