Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Elephants bring in the alligators

MEDIA RELEASE

1 July 2013

Elephants bring in the alligators

Circus elephants are believed to have been indirectly responsible for a large outbreak of the notorious pest plant alligator weed near Hamilton recently.

The unusual story is being highlighted by Waikato Regional Council at the start of Biosecurity Month which begins today.

“Alligator weed is a dangerous pest plant which we’re trying to keep out of the Waikato because it can spread really quickly, taking over pasture, crowding out native plants and choking waterways, hurting both the economy and the environment,” said pest management committee chair Laurie Burdett.

“This case involving elephants shows just how careful and vigilant people have to be to help keep alligator weed out.”

The four hectare outbreak of alligator weed on the outskirts of the city was found in April this year by a spray contractor. The contractor had ironically been to an alligator weed identification workshop run by the council the week before.

During discussions with the landowner about the find, council biosecurity staff learnt from him that the alligator weed started sprouting after a load of elephant dung was purchased as a fertiliser from a circus that visited Hamilton in 2007.

Subsequent checks uncovered the suggestion that about 60 per cent of what elephants eat is excreted virtually untouched. Alligator weed is fairly common in Northland and often turns up in cheap hay or silage from there, and it was clearly possible the elephants had consumed such feed.

The idea that the alligator weed had come from the dung was further firmed up when alligator weed was found in the spot where a neighbour had used some of the dung in their vegetable garden, and on a lawn where the dung had been placed before going on the garden.

Subsequently, historic circus sites across Hamilton have been checked for alligator weed with nothing found so far. Still people are being encouraged to contact the council if they have used elephant dung fertiliser in recent years.

Since alligator weed is a “total control pest plant” to be eradicated anywhere in the region, the council has begun work to remove it from the site on the outskirts of Hamilton, with this work expected to carry on for a number of years as the weed is fast growing and notoriously difficult to eradicate.

Because of the risk of accidental spread, people are encouraged not to try to control alligator weed themselves if they discover it. Instead they are urged to call 0800 BIOSECURITY (0800 246 732) and let the council handle it.

Alligator weed is a low-growing, non-woody perennial. Its leaves are generally arranged in opposite pairs or whorls, spaced at intervals along hollow horizontal stems. Stem and leaf sizes vary greatly. They can be very compact when the weed is in lawns or grazed pasture but much larger when growing in water.

·       Our picture shows some alligator weed.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Open Source // Open Society - Full Coverage

Gordon Campbell:
On The Reserve Bank And Auckland Housing

The ‘crisis – what crisis?’ response by the government to the Auckland housing price bubble is no longer acceptable.

So says Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer – who used unusually frank language in his speech and subsequent interviews yesterday to call for a capital gains tax, and to generally chastise central and local government for their inaction on a threat to the country’s economic health and financial stability.

That threat has been real for some time. The housing price bubble has already created a currency bubble... Undaunted, the government keeps calling this situation a success story. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Bangladesh: GCSB Dragging NZ Into Human Rights Abuses

The New Zealand government should stop providing intelligence assistance to Bangladeshi security agencies that are known to systematically engage in human rights abuses, said the Green Party today. More>>

ALSO:

Troops Heading To Iraq: Government Must Come Clean On Deployment

New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture of secrecy and unknown protections around the deployment.” More>>

ALSO:

Image: Strikers And Protestors Join Outside McDonald's

A group of protestors took to McDonald’s Manners St today as a part of the international fast food workers day of action to end zero hour contracts. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Special Education Funds Not Spent

More than $32 million of funding for children with special needs has not been spent by the Government, despite families of children with special needs complaining for years that they’ve been denied the support they deserve. More>>

ALSO:

John Key: Pre-Budget Speech To Business NZ

So this Government will remain relentlessly focused on improving the competitiveness of our economy... We will continue to give businesses a platform to invest, grow and create jobs in the knowledge they will be backed by a clear and consistent government policy programme. More>>

ALSO:

Multimedia: Andrew Little’s Response To John Key’s Pre-Budget Address

Labour Party leader Andrew Little spoke today on John Key’s pre-budget address this afternoon in Wellington. Little said National has had seven years to achieve a surplus and Kiwis have “fufilled their end of the bargain.” More>>

Surplus Baggage: Key Backs Off ‘Artificial Target’

John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On UE Pass Rates And University Dropout Rates

Houston, there is clearly a problem with (a) the plunge in pass rates for University Entrance qualifications, which has been especially steep among Maori students and also a problem with (b) the failure rates for Maori students among those who reach university... Unfortunately the two problems seem related. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news