Killing in the Name Of… Pest Control

Kia Ora! How is Spring treating you wherever you are? Been beautiful and very wet on the farm!

I want to know what other people are doing regarding pest control and how other people process the difficult and confronting task of willingly ending a life.  Are there vegans who engage in pest control practices?  What are the best/worst methods of management?  Is there any new and exciting science or inspiring efforts in this area anyone could shar with me? 

Here’s my blog anyway:

Possums are crazy cute.  They have little hands almost as dexterous as racoons (who I also worship for their cuteness and adaptability) and big, beautiful, nocturnal, marsupial eyes framed by a natural dark smokey frames that would be the envy of even the most iconic make-up artist.  They are soft, fluffy, curious and cheeky.   This is Spring, so many if not most female pouches are replete with even cuter joeys who climb out and hang out with extra cuteness on their mama’s backs.

In Aotearoa New Zealand, possums are causing grave damage to the delicate balance of our native bush, as they are an introduced species with virtually no predators. They devour too much of the same foods as our native bird population and are hungry and can be incredibly vicious to our gentle native fauna.  Rewilding and conservation efforts across Aotearoa, on land and in the sea are integral and I am a passionate supporter of the “predator free 2050” efforts and campaigns that are widely implemented and discussed across our beautiful (and vulnerable) isolated island nation.

So. Possums, along with rats, stotes, cats and a myriad of other introduced and feral species are public enemies and actively trapped and killed from Cape Reinga to Bluff. There’s also major issues with invasive river species (flora and fauna) and larger animals like pigs, goats and even horses and deer. Aotearoa is paradise not only to people, but to many introduced species as well.

Despite not being a religious person, I am deeply spiritual and genuinely respect all life and see every plant, animal, and fungi as a miracle in and of itself.  My new life has turned a hobby farm/lifestyle block into the primary professional and personal project for myself and my fiancé (who I am currently really mad at today, but that’s a conversation for another blog).  The grim task of setting and clearing traps falls on long suffering Damon’s broad and beautiful shoulders, as I am squeamish, sensitive and definitely deserve the allocated descriptor of pampered princess.  I cry over “vermin” regularly.  I am not very good at coping with suffering, my own or any other creatures.  We have to control pest populations and manage weeds as a part of a responsible land management strategy.  I accept this and am serious about investing in and communicating a strategy that addresses pest control on the whenua we are the proud kaitiaki for.

We’ve recently engaged a PhD candidate majoring in conservation to help us with managing the pest population, particularly rats, mice and possums.  We also have hunters regularly trek across the land to bag goats and pigs.  The reason I am writing this blog today is to ask advice for softies and city slickers like myself who know pragmatically that managing the pest populations is incredibly important, and actively seek advice on humane, effective and practical methods and mind-frames.  

Just up the road from our property is the inspiring conservation success story that is Tawharanui.  A predator fenced paradise where strict sanctuary conditions (no pets EVER for example) are observed. Various individuals and organisations including DoC and many conservation efforts band together to manage this project.  The result?  Countless stories from countless friends who have had meaningful encounters with native birds, bush and felt the power of Papatunuku.  I am so incredibly amped by their efforts and success, and would love to engage in a deep and meaningful conversation with someone who is closely involved in the project to learn what it costs, what is requires, and what the trials and triumphs of such a meaningful project are.

So, that’s it.  Come at me with comments and let’s have a conversation about pest control.  I fear that poisoning an 1080 conversations may dominate so can we avoid that rabbit hole as mass poisoning is not a viable option for us as we are willing/able and well-resourced enough to manage pest control through trapping, hunting and  methods that do not currently need to include poison drops, despite my belief that in some cases poison is a cruel but necessary broad stroke as an act of desperation in our fight against predators.  

Wow.  How’s that for ending on contentious note regarding a hot button issue.  It would have been remiss of me to avoid the topic of poison completely, but I do implore you to focus on more fine tuned methods for our small 50 acre project.

Thanks for reading!

Comment, DM or call me.  My Email works but I hate that particular medium so the chances are slim to none that I will respond.  Fairly certain we can have a good chat in the comments section or over Direct Message on any of our platforms if you take the time to share your thoughts.  Take care.