Editorial: Browsing birds left mark on land

Hawkes Bay Today By Laurie Collins Jan 19, 2016


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Researchers from several New Zealand and Australian museums made the discovery using state of the art 3D modelling.

It now appears the large bird's diet depended on its size.

"The giant moa had a very strong bill … the ability to bite through thick twigs and sticks, but some small moas probably were grazing very much like sheep," Canterbury Museum curator Professor Paul Scofield said.

The species went extinct about 500 years ago, changing the bush after their demise, what we think of pristine forest is nothing like the bush that was in the time of the Moa, with far reaching implications to conservation efforts moving forward.


Bias against introduced animals needs revision


Otago Daily Times - Wednesday 20th January 2016


The bias against introduced wildlife species such as deer, trout, even possums and other creatures liberated by the first European settlers needs burying.

There have been pleas in past years to ditch the doctrine.

I recently chanced upon one by none other than former Conservation minister Nick Smith, now Minister for the Environment.

Dr Smith said in an address to the 1996 New Zealand Deerstalkers' Association's annual conference: "It is important to bury the current dogma that exists about introduced species.''

He cited strong feelings against deer and even sports fish such as trout "in some quarters such as the Forest and Bird Society and within the Department of Conservation''.

Dr Smith wisely pointed out the selective hypocrisy in the anti-introduced dogma, saying it was undeniable New Zealand had benefited from introduced species from farmed animals such as sheep, dairy cows, cattle and deer as well as fruit trees and vegetables.

Read more


TVNZ News - New research reveals more about mysterious moa


Watch: Before the moa went extinct the flightless bird reshaped New Zealand's ecosystem.



There Is No Place For Toxins In New Zealand Conservation

In the beginning there were birds and very few mammals, (Bats and Seals) in New Zealand.

Maori arrived, overlapping and seeing the demise the Moa and the mighty Haast Eagle. Scientists believe the Moa was extinct at least 300 years before the arrival of the first Europeans or about 500 years ago.


Ever since then we have seen introductions of non native species, each for their own economic use and purpose, alongside the extinction of several vulnerable native birds.

The pest control agencies of New Zealand argue that possums spread TB and kill the bush. Interesting new evidence has come to light in recent months to suggest this is vastly exaggerated and these excuses for poisoning the land are no longer valid. 



Lack of disease raises questions over possum killing, poison drops


By Mark Price New Zealand Herald Jun 4, 2015


Last year, 9838 possums were killed throughout New Zealand and then checked for tuberculosis. None had the disease.

These and other figures, New Zealand First MP Richard Prosser says, raise questions over the need for TBfree New Zealand's aerial possum control programmes.

The latest round of possum poisoning - using aerial drops of 1080 - is due to be carried in the mountains around Wanaka as soon as the weather is suitable.

An opponent of the aerial use of 1080, Mr Prosser asked Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy for the figures on Tb detection over the past 10 years.

"It would appear...the prevalence of bovine tuberculosis in possums is very much less - many orders of magnitude less, in fact - than the public, and even the farming sector, have come to believe," Mr Prosser told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.


"I would contend that this misinformed perception has been allowed to proliferate both through the repetition of misinformation, and the failure of the relevant authorities to alert either the media or the public as to the truth of the matter," Mr Prosser said.


More to consider


Alien Species Reconsidered: Finding a Value in Non-Natives




One of the tenets of conservation management holds that alien species are ecologically harmful. But a new study is pointing to research that demonstrates that some non-native plants and animals can have beneficial impacts.

by carl zimmer

Clean Conservation 

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