Reports of DOC and Minister Eugenie Sage turning their killing programme from tahr to deer suggests the extermination edict is paramount in government polices says a hunting and environmental advocacy.
Laurie Collins spokesman for the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust, has backed the call by NZ Deerstalkers Association CEO Gwyn Thurlow who said a “science backed” approach is needed in managing wild big game herds.
“Unfortunately Minister Sage and DOC have worked on false ideological grounds rather than science and evolution history,” said Laurie Collins.
Over decades the Forest and Bird Society and the Department of Conservation have claimed New Zealand’s vegetation evolved under no mammalian browsing. However critics have said “mammalian browsing” obscures the reality of millions of years of strong avian browsing, i.e. birds.
Conservation Minister Sage had complained deer “are now eating plant species that were previously numerous.”
But Laurie Collins said he minister was either ignorant or deliberately ignoring ecological history.
“NZ’s vegetation evolved over millions of years under robust browsing pressure from vegetarian birds such as moa, takahe, pigeon (kereru), kakapo and others. Eminent ecologist the late Dr Graeme Caughley estimated several million moa existed in various sub-species that ranged from alpine tops to lowlands. NZ’s vegetation is strongly adapted to browsing,” he said.
The composition of plant species was undoubtedly different in “Moa times” from when the first European settlers came to New Zealand. Palatable species diminish, unpalatable species naturally increase in numbers under browsing whether it be moas and other vegetarian birds or other browsers such as deer and possums.
Credible Science Needed
Hunters want credible “science-based” management not killing based on ideology such as “an anti-introduced wild animal phobia” that Dr William Graf observed of departments in the late 1950s upon visiting NZ to investigate the “deer problem” he said.
The question begging was would Sage have tried to exterminate moa because palatable plant species decreased under the browsing.
© Ecologist the late Dr Graeme Caughley estimated there were six million moa (several sub-species) in NZ browsing the forest, snowgrass and lowland plains.
The ‘extermination’ policy on deer and other wild animals is absurd, cruel to the animals and a waste of public money. It started in 1930 when an amateur botanist Leonard Cockayne instigated “The Deer Menace Conference”. Ever since then phobic organisations have instilled a deer hatred and even to this day, indoctrinate school children with the propaganda. The phobics have infiltrated parliament and government departments.
These people also fondly believe that the passing of laws will solve and even prevent crime, particularly those committed by offenders using firearms. Sadly, such tosh is becoming widespread!
Bruce Lightfoot A senior Landcare Research Science Team Leader estimated a cost range for the total eradication Pest-Free 2050 calls for .. the lower limit of which would mean a cost of NZD1.6 *trillion* .. that’s $1,600,000,000,000 .. for Public Conservation Land ALONE.
That makes even the government’s mismanaged response to Covid-19 look like Parking Meter Money? …
Luckily, the horrific ideology espoused by Sage and her cronies is doomed to failure.
No Government in New Zealand’s history has remained in office long enough to bring it to a conclusion.
The wheels are now turning .. to see this ideology dead and buried, once and for all.
Deer are an advantage in the bush to ground feeding species such as tomtits, bush robins, brown creeper to a certain extent as it allows them easier access to insects, kiwi don’t have to use lots of energy pushing through dense bush, also open bush allows birds to see predators much easier. I’ve observed this over twenty years in a local reserve, deer got poisoned ( 80% according to AHB) the bush recovered quickly became dense and tomtit numbers declined five years later when the deer moved back into the bush from farmland the tomtit population started to recover and in eight years when the deer populated the whole area tomtits recovered to pre poison levels