@ 06:01 am (GMT)
Joshua MayfieldWith such a wealth of game species that are not native to New Zealand, do some species have a greater perception of belonging than others? In North America there are varying opinions about non-natives. Though not a large game animal, the pheasant is now perceived to be as "American" a bird to many as is the quail. I was wondering if in NZ some species have become perceived as more "native" than others?
@ 10:21 am (GMT)
Re: New Zealand questionHi Joshua, putting aside the politics, NZ hunters certainly have their favorite species which they might consider iconic.
You will find that the Red deer is very highly regarded here. But in the North Island, hunting Sika deer is like an addiction. The Maori of the east and north would consider all large mammals to be belonging as you put it. These introduced animals offer food and sport for over all well being.
Likewise, most keen hunters feel that many of the introduced animals now belong here, accidental but natural replacements of the Moa. However we have some species here that pose serious risk to native birds, especially rats and stoats. However it is hard to say whether we will ever be able to alter this in a truly meaningful manner. One major natural disaster would render all of our environmental efforts as meaningless.
Certainly a difficult subject. If one cannot accept that another mammal deserves the right to exist in the lands it was introduced to, how can one honestly accept their own right to exist in the same lands. More often than not, we tend to externalize our fears and belief systems as means to justify our existence and the choices we make. Few people delve into the psychology of this.
The movie "Hunt for the Wilderpeople" showed two very common introduced species. Whether they belong here or not is about as relevant as asking whether our white skins belong here too. The first scene showed possums (actual carcasses) being plucked for the fur trade. Other scenes showed wild pigs (though these were props apart from one carcass if memory serves). Pests or not, this is our history, our land and our animals.
@ 03:42 am (GMT)
Re: New Zealand questionLast night we got the kids tucked in at a reasonable hour. I found Hunt for the Wilderpeople on Hulu and settled in. I won't lie, the wife fell asleep, but at seven and a half months pregnant she does that whenever she can. As for me, I really, really enjoyed the film. Great balance of funny and poignant, beautifully shot. Next time I cycle my bolt on the '06 I may struggle not to quote the great Ricky Baker.
@ 04:07 am (GMT)
Re: New Zealand questionAs someone who works on non-native species management and yet who loves to hunt non-native pheasants and grey partridge I would offer that it depends a lot on what the non-native is replacing. In my world the non natives I manage are plants that threaten what is left of native range lands and offer very little or no advantage to agriculture or native species. So much is to be lost. Pheasants and partridge on the other hand are merely filling a niche opened when native grasslands were converted to cropland. I would think that for most of the regularly hunted ungulates in NZ this would be the case. They are merely filling a niche otherwise unused by existing natives. How they affect native vegetation is probably another story altogether?
@ 04:17 pm (GMT)
Re: New Zealand questionWe see the same thing that Mark is talking about here where I'm from too.
We have a lot of non-native plants that were introduced for erosion control that are really destructive. The main one in our area and all over Texas and New Mexico is the Tamarisk Tree or salt cedar. One tree drinks many gallons of water per day, and rivers become choked with them. The suck up water so fast that they can affect the replenishment of groundwater in some places. There isn't much way to get rid of them either. The prickly ash is not native to West Texas and does a lot of damage because it chokes out a lot of grass and is hard to remove.
We have introduced ungulates and other species that are pretty much extinct in native lands, so if we were to rid Texas of many of them, they'd just go extinct. These would include Addax, Dama Gazelle, and Scimitar Horned Oryx to name only a few. Plants and invertebrates present real destruction whereas certain introduced mammals seem to coexist quite well with native species given enough room.
@ 01:40 am (GMT)
Re: New Zealand questionBefore white man or Maori Nz only had one land based mammal and that was a native bat.
Now everything other is introduced. And each species is held typically greater in perception of belonging than others depending on a persons interests.
When it comes to game animals Nz is only just staring to put status to what a game animal actually is (apart from the waterfowl that has been classed as a game species and has had some sort of protection put in place from the left greens who want to eradicate).
For example most deer , Thar, goats.pigs and chamois are classed as pests just like a possum and don't actually have any protection as a wild resource until the recent Big Game Council (who allot of hunters are a bit sceptical).
So the sad answer is NZ until recent technically doesn't have a game species to hold higher than another and are compared to by many people as nothing more than a pest.
We as an outdoor nation are realising the extremes of the present day left and taking action to protect what has earn't the right to belong as much here as any introduced person (all of us) does.
Although I hope nothing to much will change.
I think All game species introduced to NZ are held equally as important to another even our introduced fish and possum as long as they are managed for there intended use - hunting and farming.
The Fiordland wapiti are probably at the moment perceived to be as "Kiwi" to many as the Moa once was in my opinion. As it has its own unique native Fiordland breed now not found anywhere else in the world.
@ 09:51 am (GMT)
Re: New Zealand questionIn Australia (at the very least in NSW) goats have become a cash crop. No where near considered naturalised or even on par with natives, no introduced species is, save for the dingo.
It used to be that farmers were begging to have them shot and removed, now the farmers will shoot and remove you if you take goats on their land. Very stable source of income in tough times.