New Zealand's Sub-Antarctic Islands - 2008

culling agent. 1080 has the added value of being very effective with the 4 species of rats that have established themselves on the two main islands. The Subantarctic islands have been rendered rat-free due to the use of 1080 as have some other of the islands belonging to New Zealand and now functioning as preserves. The poison is dropped from the air and then the kills are monitored by DOC workers on the ground—both the intended and unintended deaths are counted and recorded so that improvements in delivery systems can be researched. Just for fun, it is good to mention a couple of very ironic discoveries we made. In 1870 the then Governor of New Zealand imported 4 species of wallabies from Australia to create a zoo on a small islet off the North Island. The zoo never had any cages because it was believed that the wallabies would never swim across open water and that supposition did turn out to be true. However, the wallabies found the little island very much to their liking and found everything they needed for survival and reproduction. Soon they had eaten all the native species of plants (they are herbivores) and it became necessary to feed them and keep their numbers down to something manageable. These creatures are living well on the largess of the New Zealanders who support the island zoo. The irony is that two of those species are nearly extinct in Australia and DOC is cooperating with Australian biologists in a breeding and relocation program to return the endangered wallabies to their own homeland! In a park on the North Island are herds of feral horses which are also very destructive of native habitats, especially the native plants. The herds are controlled and kept in a reserve area, but every time the DOC must cull the numbers, a great protest goes up from the New Zealand humans who do not wish to see these horses destroyed. Sounds like home with our wild mustangs and burros, doesn’t it? So, just as our Department of the Interior has attempted, DOC periodically offers the excess horses for adoption. And just as it is here at home, never are enough of the animals adopted to keep the herds at the optimum levels. Incidentally, these feral horses are really domestic horses who were allowed to run free in years past—again, just like our mustangs

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