When the Pickard family set up a tracking tunnel in their back yard in Arrowtown they expected to get rat prints but the only clear print they got didn’t look right. So they sent this photo to us at Pest Detective and asked what we thought.
It wasn’t a complete paw print but there was enough evidence to suggest it was a hedgehog’s.
When it comes to controlling animal pests in New Zealand, it’s essential to keep watching out for signs that they are present and, especially, signs that they are increasing in numbers or spreading.
The principle of continual observation is the key message in this year’s Biosecurity Week theme, ’20-20 Vigilance’. The sooner we see signs of increased threat, the sooner we can take effective action.
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.