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Fauna & Flora
Wanted Dead not Alive
New Zealand's native fauna and flora has been decimated over the years by animals and plants introduced by both Maori and Europeans.
"Aaahhh isn't that cute", is what I often hear tourists say when they come across a family of these fluffy marsupials. They were introduced from Australia for the fur trade in 1848. Possums without any predators and plenty of food quickly spread throughout the country.
The biggest problem these marsupials cause is eating the foliage of native trees, they can kill a mature tree in 3 years. There are an estimated 70 million in New Zealand, eating approximately seven million tonnes of vegetation per year.
Possum bashing, fun for all the family.
If you are out in the bush and you happen to come across a possum, grab a stick and hit it over the head, it may take a few swipes as they are tough little buggers. Make this more fun by making a competition out of it, the loser making the possum stew.
Forest and Bird
There have been three species of rats unintentionally introduced into New Zealand. The Pacific rat or kiore was introduced by Polynesian settlers. The Norway rat and the ship rat by the Europeans. Rats eat young birds, small animals, eggs, native fruits and nuts.
Wild Cats and Dogs
As much as I like both these animals as pets, they are indiscriminate killers. For a defenceless and flightless bird like the kiwi, cats and dogs are bad news.
"The only flightless perching bird known in New Zealand, the Stephens Island Wren, was discovered and soon after eliminated by a lighthouse keeper's cat in the late 1800s." Department of Conservation.
Ferrets, stoats and weasels were introduced as they are natural predators of rabbits, which were also introduced. Rabbits are a problem for farmers as they cause erosion and compete with sheep for grass.
"Farmers demanded that the natural enemy of rabbits in England, ferrets, stoats and weasels, be imported to deal with the problem." christchurch.org.nz
Mustelids, like wild cats and dogs can decimate a population of native birds.