Media Release

HOW TO STOP PET AND PLANT ESCAPES THIS SUMMER


Contributed by the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute


The people involved in keeping New Zealand free of plant and animal pests are asking Kiwis to help make their job easier over the summer, by taking good care of their pets as well as their gardens.
New Zealand Biosecurity Institute President, Rebecca Kemp has some simple messages for pet owners and gardeners this summer.
"We ask people to de-sex their pets, be conscious of where they are and do their best to prevent them from roaming."
"As well, we ask gardeners and pond and aquarium owners to either compost garden waste and aquarium contents or dispose of as green waste, and to take care that water and fish are not released into waterways."
Ms Kemp said every year Institute members spend hundreds of hours controlling or managing the risks to the environment, of the pet and gardening industry.
"This is part of wider biosecurity work which costs the country hundreds of millions of dollars each year through control, research and border control budgets. This money is coming out of all New Zealanders' pockets," she said.
Biosecurity Institute members will also be promoting the "Clean, Check, Dry" message amongst recreational users of all New Zealand's waterways, to stop the spread of all aquatic pests this summer.


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION


For comment please contact: Rebecca Kemp, President, New Zealand Biosecurity Institute: 021 222 9076
Media enquiries please contact: Chris Macann, Editor, Protect Magazine - The Magazine of the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute, phone 03 34 99 660 | 021 878 001
For more information about the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute please visit: www.biosecurity.org.nz


NOTE FOR EDITORS


The NZ Biosecurity Institute is the professional training and networking organisation for people involved in biosecurity. Its 450 members work for research organisations, educational institutions, regional councils and government departments.
All are involved in protecting NZ from invasive species.


EXAMPLES OF PET AND GARDEN ESCAPES


In 2014 pond and aquarium owners in the Bay of Plenty were asked in to check for the invasive pest plant hornwort, following the accidental sale of the aquatic weed from a pet store. Many aquarium plants such as hornwort, lagarosiphon, egeria and hydrilla are on the National Pest Plant Accord list of plants that cannot be sold, propagated or distributed in New Zealand.
Institute members have had reports of increased numbers of roosters on Waiheke Island among other places throughout New Zealand.
Canterbury members report continual problems in the Waimakariri Riverbed where there is clear evidence of pest plants establishing following the tipping of garden waste. An infestation of Senegal tea was found in the Waimakariri River area, most likely the result of garden dumping.
The aquatic plant pest parrots feather was found in the Bexley Wetland in Christchurch after the earthquakes. It is thought it got there from aquarium dumping after the earthquakes as it was close to the pathway through the wetland and behind houses.
Institute members are finding non-native reptiles like bearded dragons, along with red eared slider turtles in numerous locations across Northland and Auckland as well as Wellington and other parts of the country.
Canterbury members are reporting increased numbers of peacocks in the wild on Christchurch's Port Hills as well as sulphur-crested cockatoos and eastern rosellas which have also established elsewhere.
Agencies are working together in the Waikato Region to investigate a known wild population of ring neck parakeets. It is now illegal to release them because they have been listed as an unwanted organism under the Biosecurity Act 1993.
Wellington members report a number of the aquatic plant pest eelgrass sites, and a red eared slider turtle population in the Hutt River, as well as various stray cat colonies resulting from pet dumping.
The aquatic plant pest Senegal tea took over a pond in Auckland when it was transferred amongst water lilies from a nearby pond.
Goldfish ending up in waterways is becoming an increasing problem. Pond species such as perch, tench, rudd, cat fish and carp all degrade the quality of New Zealand's freshwater habitats.
At least half of the rabbits killed in one pest control operation in the Auckland Region were multi-coloured, indicating that they may have been the result of released pets that had bred with wild rabbits.


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