Archives For predators

The life of a scientist in the Department of Conservation is worlds apart from the traditional stereotype of a lab-coat wearing academic hidden inside and away from the ‘real world’. DOC’s Threatened Species Ambassador Nicola Toki talks to alpine ecologist, Dr Kerry Weston. Kerry’s work takes her to the top of New Zealand’s peaks to try to unravel the mystery of the world’s most ancient species of wren, a vital indicator for the health of our high rise ecosystems.

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By Wendy Sullivan, Partnerships Ranger, Picton

Picton Pestival logo. Last March I was watching the news on the television when a story came on about a ‘Pestival‘ (a pest festival would you believe!) in the small town of Picton.

The Pestival was run by a community group at the Kaipupu Point Sounds Wildlife Sanctuary, and had Gareth Morgan as guest speaker – coincidently it was not long after Gareth had the hit headlines regarding his Cats to Go campaign. Over 500 people came to this local event.

Little did I know that 12 months later I would be living in Picton, and would end up meeting the charismatic organisers of the second annual Pestival—Jenny Keene, Jo O’Connell and Chrissy Powlesland.

This time around I was determined to be a part of the event and to help make it even bigger and better than the previous year.

The Pestival is a uniquely kiwi, ‘heartland party’ to raise funds for Kaipupu Point, a predator fenced reserve located right next to the ferry terminals in Picton.

The Pestival also aims to raise awareness of pests and predators, and the focus is on what you can do in your backyard—whether it’s planting bird friendly trees, building weta houses, or learning how to trap.

The Raticators - Peter Hobson and Helen Crook.

The Raticators – Peter Hobson and Helen Crook

I have heard from locals who attended the Pestival last year that they were able to go away knowing the difference between a Norway rat and a ship rat, and which trap is the best one to use for a certain type of pest.

The day’s entertainment includes live music, food, local delicacies, environmental speakers, mini-workshops, conservation and trapping stalls, a market place, a pest contest, fancy dress prizes and a children’s programme.

Rat in a tree.

Rat nibbling a sign

Visit Kaipupu Point

With natural ecosystems flourishing in an almost completely pest free environment, Kaipupu Point is well worth a visit. It’s open year-round and free for everyone to enjoy.

Pestival 2014 — Saturday 22 March

The second annual Pestival will be held on Saturday 22 March 2014 11 am—6 pm, at the Waitohi Domain, Picton.

More information is available on the DOC website.

Today’s photo of the week is of a red-crowned parakeet/kākāriki taking a bath in a stream in Rotorua. Kākāriki, means ‘small green parrot’ in Māori.

Kakariki taking a bath.

There are five main species of kākāriki. The red-crowned species is distinguished by a bright crimson forehead, crown and a streak extending back beyond the eyes.

Attacks by introduced predators such as stoats and rats are the main threat to kākāriki.

This photo was taken by Jackson WoodCC BY-NC 2.0.