Re­pelling in­va­sive species

The Guardian Weekly - - Reply -

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

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