Thursday January 18, 2018
Making country predator free ‘benefits human health’ The Predator Free 2050 campaign to rid New Zealand of rats and possums will have major benefits for human health as well as for native plants and animals, University of Otago, Wellington public health researcher Dr Mary McIntyre says. In New Zealand rats carry infections such as salmonella, toxoplasma, giardia and campylobacter that can be spread to humans through contact with the animals or contaminated food and water. “Possums carry bovine TB [tuberculosis], which is also an ongoing and expensive livestock problem,” Mary says. “It is less well known that possums also provide a potential reservoir for mosquito-borne diseases such as the Ross River Virus.” “Nearly three out of five [58 percent] known infectious diseases in humans across the world are estimated to be caused by ‘zoonotic’ [shared with other animals] pathogens,” Mary says. “New Zealand has been a ‘land of milk and honey’ for the rats, which were introduced largely unwittingly, and for possums that were introduced in the 19th century to establish a fur industry. “The spread of diseases is largely a cost to society of our globalising travel habits. This greatly increases the chances
Trust appeals for street names that remember the fallen By Jamie Adams
Rats are the focus of Predator Free Wellington’s local campaign, especially in Miramar. PHOTO: Supplied
of spreading new pests such as mosquitoes and ticks.” The establishment of mosquito-borne disease by infected people is a particular concern for New Zealand since there are already mosquitoes here which carry infections such as dengue fever. “In the right conditions people travelling from overseas could infect the local mosquitoes – instead of the other way around,” Mary explains. Eradicating pests would also remove any further need to use 1080 poison, says Mary. Wellington has been at the forefront of the predator-free movement, with almost all of its suburbs undertaking backyard
trapping throughout the city; there are now 24 backyard groups registered. “Forty-odd community groups are actively trapping in the city’s reserves and 80 community groups are working in the broader ecological restoration space,” says Predator Free Wellington Project Director, James Willcocks. “Not only are we leading the charge from a predator free perspective, but [last] year Wellington city has also seen almost 350,000 native trees planted.” The 5000 households participating in backyard trapping have removed over 13,000 rats, mice, weasels and stoats, according to the group.
With the official four-year commemorations of World War One ending in less than a year, there has been a renewed call to recognise historic military events or brave soldiers by featuring a poppy on signposts in streets and towns around New Zealand. It comes from the Poppy Places Trust Remembrance Project which says New Zealanders have an opportunity to make sure that a generation which suffered huge casualties is not forgotten and to recognise sacrifices in other conflicts. With an estimated 3000 existing streets identified with military connections, project manager Joe Bolton has called for a major public push to leave a lasting legacy for future generations to be signposted with a red poppy. “All it takes is a request by local residents to their councils, using a process set out on the Trust’s website - poppyplaces.nz - to replace or modify existing street signs with the addition of a red poppy to mark its significance,” Joe says. Wellington city councillor Andy Foster has been the driving force behind the appeal in Wellington. The Onslow-Western ward councillor began researching the history of the city’s streets after
attending a Poppy Places Trust conference in Hawke’s Bay before commemorations began four years ago. “While some streets names are obvious, there are plenty that people didn’t have the faintest idea of their origin.” The campaign has led to a similar movement starting in Australia as more people become aware of the legacy of the war poppy, Andy says. Already five streets in Wellington’s southern and eastern suburbs have been identiifed as having a connection to World War One battlegrounds and the soldiers that fought in them, and have had poppies placed on their signposts as a result. Freyberg Street, Lyall Bay (named after Bernard Freyberg’s borther Paul); McColl Street, Vogeltown and Robieson Street, Mt Victoria all had poppies installed on the 100th anniversaries of their namesake’s deaths. Two other streets - Bruges Street, Miramar and Wingate Terrace, Newtown - had their poppies placed on Armistice Day 2014. Those who believe there are more streets in Wellington that have a connection to the Great War should get in touch with Andy to have their eligibility assessed. Email email@example.com.
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Cook Strait News 18-01-18