This is a follow up to a piece that was published in the Southland Times titled “Steward Island Moggies May Get Their Marching Orders“. Basically the article talks about my wish to make Stewart Island the world’s first pest-free community. And cats have to go. This includes feral cats and potentially your furry little pet.
The thing is, we need to have a good look at how serious we are about bringing our wildlife back to sustainable numbers.
It’s one thing to pay this lip service and to nod sagely on how such an aspirational goal is admirable. But as so often is the case, when the rubber hits the road, people’s short term self-interest takes precedence over the interests of both their community and future generations. In the case of removing predators – which is a prerequisite for building back the community of our native fauna – cats have to be taken out.
And I don’t just mean feral cats, we’re talking here about all cats. Yes that ball of fluff of yours at home, is as much a predator as stoats, rats and mice. Together with the rabbit and possum pests they all need to go. At the risk of causing a “pussy riot” New Zealanders need to realise that without that type of commitment we can forget the goal of a predator free New Zealand ever being realised – in fact it’s a waste of time even trying. Public myopia – at least amongst the 47% of households who have cats – would reign.
In June I participated in a panel discussion titled “Kill a stoat, save New Zealand”. We talked about how realistic Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of a pest-free New Zealand is. Will New Zealanders rise to the challenge? What will it cost? And would it be worth the expense?
On this panel was myself, Kim Hilll, Dr Nicola Toki, of Forest and Bird, Professor Charles Daugherty, Assistant Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University Wellington, and Dr Rick Boven, formerly Director of think tank The New Zealand Institute.
You can listen to the debate below..