We can all help our environment
New Zealand is lucky to have beautiful landscapes and amazing wildlife. We are recognised internationally for our diverse plants and animals being completely unique and found nowhere else on earth.
Sadly many of our native species and their habitats are in trouble. Just look at our muchloved native birds - one in three species is at risk of extinction.
Here in South Canterbury that includes the curious kea, and braided river birds like blackbilled gulls, wrybills, and kakı¯.
Even if you’re cynical about the value of nature, there’s no arguing with the numbers.
Our wildlife and wild places are a major part of the reason we have 3.5 million international visitors contributing $15 billion to the economy every year.
We should all love our native species because they are so
‘‘Even if you’re cynical about the value of nature, there’s no arguing with the numbers.’’
uniquely New Zealand. From nocturnal parrots that can’t fly, to carnivorous snails, and even parasitic plants.
They’re all something we should be proud of.
So how can the average person help? Try some of these easy tips to protect nature locally and at home in your own backyard.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for our native wildlife is being killed and eaten by introduced predators like rats, stoats, and possums.
You can help by setting traps and encouraging your neighbours to do the same. Rats are the easiest to target.
Buy a Victor rat trap (found at most hardware stores) and set 2 - 3 in your yard. The best place to put traps is on flat surfaces under cover and near walls - my busiest traps are next to the compost bin.
If one in five houses traps for rats, you can remove them completely from a neighbourhood or suburb.
Across New Zealand, people are doing this, and there have even been whole suburbs declared rat-free.
There are plenty of ways to get involved in South Canterbury. Whether you fancy trapping, weeding, planting, or even sewing bags to reduce waste. On the first Saturday of each month, you can join Forest & Bird for a field trip to Kakahu Bush.
If you prefer to stay indoors, join a Boomerang Bags working bee to make reusable bags from recycled material.
Kids can also get involved with the Kiwi Conservation Club for field trips to learn about eels, bats, birds, and more.
It’s controversial, I know, but cats are doing more harm to native wildlife than most realise - and that includes the well fed ones. By setting a kitty curfew and keeping cats inside at night, you can reduce their impact.
There are other benefits as well - you’re less likely to get presents on the doormat and you can sleep soundly knowing your cat is safely at home and off the roads.
Although our lives can get busy, there’s always an easy way to contribute. If we all do our best to protect nature, and do our bit, we can make a big difference.