A new book is set to inspire and empower New Zealand kids to be naturalists and conservationists – including being pest detectives.
Author Gillian Chandler wrote New Zealand Nature Heroes to encourage children to become citizen scientists, actively engaged with their local environment.
The book emphasises the importance of observation in nature conservation and suggests varied activities that children can undertake for themselves.
Detecting pest animals is one such activity. There are simple instructions on how to make tracking tunnels and chew cards, with a link to our Pest Detective website for help on identifying the animal signs observed.
We have recently added some more content to our Bite Marks section. Bite marks reflect the arrangement, shape and size of an animal's jaws and teeth. They can therefore be used to identify the presence of some pest animals.
The new photographs of Chewcard and WaxTag® sign, kindly shared by Manaaki Whenua - Landcare Research, supplement the photographs of skulls and teeth that we already had.
Regional councils are urging people around New Zealand to report sightings of rooks.
Report sightings but don’t do anything that might alarm the birds, such as shooting or disturbing nests. Rook groups will scatter if alarmed and that means they will be harder to find and potentially establish more breeding sites over a wider area. Rooks are very intelligent and wary of anything new or unusual. For instance, they have reportedly learnt to tell the difference between a gun and a stick and have been known to use a guard bird to test food before others in a flock will eat it.
Instead, note the location, try to take a photo if you can and report your observation to your local regional council as soon as possible. Prompt reporting will enable the council to follow up before the birds move on (perhaps to a new food source).
For this year's Conservation Week we've updated our culprits poster to show the 30 pest animal species featured on Pest Detective.
Download the poster from our kids' activities page. It has been sized for A2 printing but can alternatively be printed to fit smaller A3 or A4 paper.
Why are these animals pests?
All the pest animals featured on Pest Detective have been introduced to New Zealand either by accident or intentionally for various reasons.
Rick Haddrell recently sent in this photo, taken on his Waitomo farm. He was unsure as to whether it was a cat or hedgehog dropping.
We think it is a cat dropping due to the size, the smooth, elongated shape with visible segments and the rounded cross section. Hedgehog droppings are smaller, tend to be blacker in colour and drier. Or, could it have been from a mustelid?
‘He waka eke noa - All hands on deck’ is the theme of this year’s Biosecurity Week.
According to the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute (NZBI), we’re all in the waka together when it comes to protecting New Zealand’s native biodiversity and primary industries from invasive species.
NZBI is the professional organisation of people involved in all aspects of biosecurity in New Zealand. Institute President, Darion Embling, says that New Zealand has some very ambitious biosecurity goals, which will need technology, innovation and plenty of people power.