Repelling invasive species
Jules Howard’s article about our attitude towards invasive species (14 July) really hit a chord. His horror about baby brushtail possums being drowned in buckets in front of primary school children echoes my own about so-called invasive birds being gassed in Perth.
I have been berated on Twitter for posting a photo of a gorgeous rainbow lorikeet hanging upside down from a palm tree frond. It is not the fault of the bird that it takes over the nesting hollows of native birds. It is not the fault of the kookaburras and corellas that they are not “native” to Western Australia and have, despite this, multiplied. Despite periodic “culling” of these bird species, they stubbornly persist.
I agree with Howard. The most damaging pests on the face of this planet are humans. They are the true “ferals”, and while I do not advocate that they should be drowned in buckets, they should certainly take a long, cold shower before lecturing others. Jennifer Dodd Perth, Western Australia
• So Jules Howard doesn’t count himself as one who can kill possums in a bucket of water in front of children at a school fundraiser. For what it’s worth, I suspect that the vast majority of New Zealanders would put themselves in the same category for this thoughtless thuggery.
But very few of us here hesitate to kill them by every other reasonable means – Timms traps, a .22 bullet to the head or under our car’s front wheels if the opportunity presents itself. For it is these furry gifts from across the ditch that have singlehandedly decimated our national trees and vegetation more than any other one factor (excepting humans, of course). Let alone the destruction they wreak on domestic gardens even in inner-city areas.
On a recent trip to Melbourne I was dumbfounded to see trees in an inner-city park riddled with these little suckers, much to the amusement of locals who were cooing at their cuteness and feeding them. I had to restrain myself from taking to them, but I did in a country where they are protected. Besides, there were no buckets of water available. John Benseman Auckland, New Zealand