Natural areas such as bush remnants, wetlands or dunes can host many mammal pests, mustelids and ungulates. These can cause significant damage to both native plants and animals. For more information see also the Animal Pests section of this website. Mammalian pests and mustelids can have a staggering impact on our natural ecosystems by:
- Eating or damaging native plants. In some places, pest browsing of particular species can significantly change the make-up of a forest.
- Eating the seed crop of some plants, preventing natural regeneration.
- Eating seedlings, preventing regeneration and opening up the understorey to weed invasion.
- Killing native birds and other native animals.
- Destroying nesting sites and depleting food sources for native birds.
Regular control of animal pests is essential in the protection of natural areas. It is not a one-off job, so a pest control schedule will be required in any ongoing work programme. A range of animal pest control methods are used in New Zealand.
- Poisoning, shooting or trapping – This is good as long as you avoid non-target species
- Fencing – This excludes some animal pests and can be cost effective e.g., rabbit netting
- Shields – This are used to deter possums or moats to reduce pest access
- Creating less suitable conditions – This involves increasing vegetation cover and moisture which can deter rabbits
- Biocontrol – The introduction of biological agents can be used to control specific animals such as parasitoid wasps to control wasps
- Integrated pest management – This is a combination of all or some of the above methods often used in special areas subject to intensive pest control
For more information see: