New Zealand had no warm-blooded mammal predators before they were introduced by humans. These introduced predators are now the main threat to our native wildlife – destroying eggs and killing chicks, adult birds and reptiles.
Animal pests are a major threat to New Zealand's special native species, ecosystems and conservation lands.
We all need to get involved to help save our native birds and reptiles from extinction!
The main predators and threats are:
- Mustelids (stoats, weasels & ferrets)
- Rodents (rats & mice)
- Pigs, Deer & Goats
- Habitat Loss (eg. deforestation, the draining of wetlands)
If you own a dog or cat this is what you can do to help:
- Ensure your dog cannot escape from the yard or kennel where it is housed
- Always keep your dog secured at night – dogs that roam are dangerous to native wildlife
- Keep your dog well fed and watered
- Only exercise your dog in designated dog-exercise areas
- When visiting areas of native forest with your dog, always keep it on a lead
- Never abandon unwanted dogs as this is unfair to the animal and our native wildlife.
- Keep cats inside at night – cats that roam free are dangerous to native wildlife
- Keep your cat well fed and watered
- Have your cat neutered or spayed, so it cannot breed and produce unwanted kittens
- Where possible, ensure your cat has a bell on its collar – this will alert native wildlife to the cat's presence while hunting
- Never abandon unwanted cats as this is unfair to the animal and our native wildlife.
Mustelids, Possums, Rodents, Hedgehogs and Pigs
These are all opportunists and will eat anything. Unfortunately our native birds and reptiles have no defence against these introduced predators and the only way to control them is with intensive trapping, hunting and poisoning.
In a period of approximately 750 years, native forests in New Zealand have been reduced from 85% of the land area (23 million hectares) to about 23% (6.2 million hectares).
Most of the lowland forests, wetlands, dunes and estuaries have been converted into pasture land and residential settlements – ecosystems have been reduced to isolated areas.
Before people settled in New Zealand about 5% of the land area was grassland. Today grass covers more than 38% of New Zealand's total land area:
- 52% of the North Island; and
- 29% of the South Island. [Source: Save the Kiwi]
To ensure the survival of our amazing native birds and reptiles:
- More of our native forest must be protected
- Intensive predator control must be undertaken.
We are directly responsible for the plight of our native birds and reptiles. Without continued support of our threatened native species, we may lose the fight to restore at least part of our natural heritage forever.
If you wish to support the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park in our efforts to save New Zealand's Native Birds & Reptiles click here.