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

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild Rebrand: "Regenerate Christchurch" To Replace CERA

The regeneration of Christchurch will be the city’s focus for the next five years as local leadership progressively takes control of the rebuild, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news