“New Zealand’s Department of Conservation is the first conservation department in the world to introduce “locally captured wild ship rats” to protected areas in the name of pest control, what could possibly be next?” Asks ACT’s Conservation spokesperson Nicole McKee.

“The rats are being introduced behind the predator fence at Ōhaupō to control birds, with the National Wetland Trust stating the goal for the rats is “to climb the trees at night and scare the birds away.”

“The reason the birds have become so out of control is because DoC installed a fence to prevent the rats from eating them. It’s an endless cycle.

“What happens when the rats scare the birds away and then start breeding like crazy? Do we then introduce feral cats to control them? and then wild dogs to control the feral cats? Will it finally end once we have bears roaming conservation land?

“The classic brown ship rat that we all know and hate was introduced back in the late 1700s when they stowed away on settlers ships. Anyone who has had to put up with them at home knows how hard it is to get rid of them. Some conservation areas spend millions of dollars trying to keep them away.

“The National Wetland Trust’s self-proclaimed “experimental method” appears to have little in the way of scientific backing, saying it “hasn’t been possible to guesstimate the actual effects on native wildlife of introducing rats.”

“Perhaps if they were to introduce some Himalayan Tahr or feral goats I could take care of the pest control for them.”

More from

Nicole McKee