Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Cats, Rats and Birds……..It’s Dog Eat Dog Out There!

Media Release 13 August 2014

Cats, Rats and Birds……..It’s Dog Eat Dog Out There!

Calling all conservationists! Members of the public who are concerned about the plight of native birds in the Whangarei area are invited to a free evening seminar at NorthTec.

Hosted by NorthTec’s Environmental Sciences department, the seminar will be held on Thursday, 28 August, at 7pm, at the Interactive Learning Centre on the Raumanga campus.

Speakers will focus on the relationship between urban predators and their prey, and what this could mean for the future of native birds in Whangarei.

Environmental Lecturer, Dai Morgan, will discuss the importance of two studies which he carried out, one in the Hamilton area and the other on an island in the Hauraki Gulf. The studies looked at the relationship between urban predators like mice, rats, weasels and cats and their prey, mainly native bird species.

Dai said there was limited research on urban ecosystems, with most studies of native flora and fauna concentrating on areas of bush and open land, rather than city fringe habitats.

The Hamilton study focused on three types of habitat: gullies, public amenity parks, and residential areas. This found that while cats were ubiquitous in all environments, important predators like ship rats and possums were largely limited to gully systems on the outskirts of the city, with little evidence of widespread predator activity in the other areas.

Dai said: “This tells us that pest control is logistically possible in the city of Hamilton. Predators are entering the city via its gullies, so by targeting the gully areas it could be possible to keep predators at low numbers.”

The second study, on a small island, looked at the relationship between what cats eat and what is available to them.

Dai said: “Cats generally choose mammalian prey when they can, because mammals are a far better energy source for them – simply because mammals, like rats, are larger than invertebrates or birds, so provide more calories per kill to the cat.

“This shows that if pest control efforts reduce mammalian predator populations, cats may need to switch to avian prey to satisfy their daily energy requirements.”

With very little research conducted in the Whangarei area, Dai and his colleagues are considering setting up studies that aim to map the distributions of mammalian predators across different habitat types in the city, and investigate whether the impact of feral and domestic cats on native birds intensifies after pest populations are reduced.

Whangarei is an excellent city for such studies as it has numerous green spaces and is bordered on most sides by high-quality bush. Therefore, there is considerable habitat for many native species to use.

Dai believes the planned research will be valuable because it will help wildlife managers identify the most important habitat types to control pests, and enable a better understanding of the potential impact cats could have in areas after the pests are gone.

He said: “Wildlife research in urban areas is often undervalued because cities are regularly viewed as being of low conservation value. However, there are many habitat types within cities that can sustain viable populations of native species, and it is in these areas that many people get their first, or majority of ecological experiences. Therefore, they are very important systems to understand”.

The Environmental Sciences team are interested to hear from other people that work in the areas of conservation and pest control, or who have ideas about protecting Northland’s bird population. For further information, please contact Tanya Cook on 09 470 3857 or email tcook@northtec.ac.nz.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news