What looks different in your backyard ?
Category: National. Posted: 22 December 2020
People who work to manage invasive species threats to New Zealand are asking kiwis to play a game of spot-the-difference these holidays.
Key biosecurity sector group, the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute is asking kiwis to see what they can spot in their own back-yards that looks like it might be out of place.
Institute president Alice McNatty said “With many staying close to home this holiday season, the Institute is asking people to keep an eye on anything they think is unusual, or just looks different in their own gardens or while out-and-about.
Ms McNatty said “Covid 19 has shown how well we can knock a serious threat early if we really want to.
“It’s no different with invasive species.
“There are many biosecurity threats to be aware of and the same basic practices occur - constant vigilance,” she said.
Some of our worst invasive environmental weeds are garden escapes like old man’s beard and Japanese honeysuckle. Among other pests are plague skinks or Argentine ants.”
She said community websites and apps like Weedbusters, iNaturalistNZ and Find-A-Pest are helpful to get information on any organism that may be unusual. Regional council, Department of Conservation and Ministry for Primary Industries websites are also helpful.
Anyone who thinks they have seen something potentially out of place should contact a regional council or the Department of Conservation.
“We encourage people to investigate before phoning immediately, Ms McNatty said.”
Ms McNatty said the Institute’s members’ ongoing battle against invasive species will be greatly helped this summer if kiwis observe a few simple actions. Key among them are:
- Getting to know the local environment and spotting differences
- Checking and cleaning equipment that has been in the outdoors particularly waterways
- Disposing of garden waste or aquarium contents in the compost or at a waste management site
- De-sexing pets, particularly cats.
“Every year Institute members spend thousands of hours controlling or managing the risks to the economy and the environment from the effects of invasive species.”
“This is work which costs the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year through control, research and border control budgets. This money is coming out of all New Zealanders’ pockets, Ms McNatty said.”