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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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War on Weeds

We invite you to join with DOC and Weedbusters to fight this War on Weeds.

Hundreds of invasive weeds are smothering our native forests, wetlands and coastal areas, harming our wildlife and transforming our natural landscapes.

New Zealand has about 2,500 species of native plants, but ten times as many introduced exotic plants. These invasive weeds are devastating for natural habitats in the same way that rats, stoats and possums are decimating our native birds, plants and animals.

Many problem plants in the wild are attractive garden specimens that have escaped over the fence to invade our bush and forests.

The Dirty Dozen

There are 12 problem weeds that you and your community can join forces to help us bring under control.

These 12 weeds are causing particular problems in different parts of the country. They are weeds which everyone will be able to identify and help to remove with minimal equipment.

Find out more.......

 
 

Untimely Death of John Sawyer

The National Biodiversity Network is devastated to announce the untimely death of its CEO, John Sawyer, who died of a heart attack on Friday 6th November. He was at his "spiritual" home, the Isle of Mull, when it happened.

Our deepest condolences to John's family, in particular his partner Karlene, with whom he was expecting their first child.
- See more at: http://nbn.org.uk/News/Latest-news/John-Sawyer.aspx#sthash.Cwm5Nbsv.dpuf

http://nbn.org.uk/News/Latest-news/John-Sawyer.aspx


...many folk in NZBI will either have worked with John or know of the work that he did. He only moved back to UK last year. From the NBN website profile of John, in his own words:
"I was born in Yorkshire and studied environmental sciences at the University of Southampton in the early 1990s. Since then I have worked in terrestrial biodiversity conservation around the world including the highlands of Guatemala, the Juan Fernandez Islands (off the coast of Chile) and the Chatham Island archipelago (680km east of New Zealand). I have worked as a technical advisor, team leader and manager at the Department of Conservation (NZ), and most recently was environmental strategy and policy advisor for Auckland (NZ's largest city).

I have also worked for charitable NGOs including a time as President of the NZ Ecological Society (NZ's largest ecological science organisation) and co-founder of both the NZ Plant Conservation Network (NZ's largest NGO devoted to the protection of the indigenous flora) and Nature Space (a national partnership to support the work of those involved in ecological restoration).

I also have an interest in the outdoors and published a hiking cookbook in 2007 entitled 'Gourmet Tramping in New Zealand'. My spiritual home (known in Maori as 'turangawaewae') is the Isle of Mull in the inner hebrides of Scotland."

 
   

We’re not about tigers and marijuana says Biosecurity Institute

MEDIA STATEMENT

30 June 2015

We're not about tigers and marijuana says Biosecurity Institute

July is Biosecurity Month and those who work in the sector reckon more should be taught about animal and plant pests in schools.

The call from the New Zealand Biosecurity Institute (NZBI) comes on the eve of the month dedicated to highlighting the biosecurity sector.

It follows the recent release of a survey of Auckland schoolchildren which found such a lack of knowledge about unwanted plants and pests, and the effects they could have on the environment, that many considered zoo animals and illicit drugs to be the country's biggest biosecurity threats.

The NZBI thinks it's time the Biosecurity Sector took a higher profile in the community as well as in schools.

The survey of 171 Year 9 students found that around a third could not name an unwanted animal. While some named possums and rats as pests, others listed zoo animals such as tigers, elephants and hippos.

A third could not name an unwanted plant in New Zealand. Those that did named marijuana.

NZBI member Rajesh Ram carried out the survey as part of his studies at the University of Auckland. He said he also found the students lacked knowledge on what effect an unwanted plant or pest could have on the environment.

NZBI President Rebecca Kemp said the students were predominately aged 13 and she would have hoped they had a bit more of an idea about pest plants and animals and the general concept of biosecurity.

Ms Kemp said every year, in the course of their jobs, NZBI members spend hundreds of hours controlling or managing the risks to the economy and the environment from the effects of unwanted pests.

"This is 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.

"We need everyone to play a part in protecting what's precious and unique about New Zealand."

The NZBI 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.

Biosecurity month occurs every July in the run-up to the NZ Biosecurity Institute's Annual Conference.

photo 1

A group of school children study the pest plant gorse close-up.

Rebecca-Kemp

NZ Biosecurity President Rebecca Kemp

photo3 NZBI

Year 9 students from Hobsonville Point Secondary School who are involved in the restoration of a site near their school. A nationally critically threatened plant on the site (Epilobium hirtigerum) is being smothered by pest plants. The students and teachers are working on several projects relating to the area, and on promoting biosecurity and biodiversity issues in their wider community.

For further 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

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July is Biosecrity Month

Didymo, emperor penguins, old man's beard and great white butterflies all have something in common - they are some of the new plants, animals, or microbes constantly arriving on our shores.

New Zealand has a wide network of biosecurity measures to try to avoid them getting far, but some do get through. July is Biosecurity Month, set up to raise awareness of the pests that can cause damage to our environment, economy and health.

"Happy Feet" the emperor penguin that arrived in 2011 was one of the more welcome and popular arrivals. Others such as didymo, or rock snot, which arrived in 2004 are not as popular or easy to control.

Closer to home the great white butterfly was discovered in Nelson in 2010. It has been the subject of a major eradication project since then in an attempt to stop it spreading. It is a major threat to many of our native cress species and to vegetable crops such as broccoli and cauliflower.

When biosecurity is mentioned most people think of the inspectors at our international airports who check passengers' luggage on arrival and X-ray it to try to stop any new diseases, plants or animals crossing our borders. It's not so usual to think of DOC staff inspecting luggage for the same reasons.

It is part of every Department of Conservation ranger's job, however, to ensure they do not spread weeds or diseases between the places they work in, and sometimes it is not that easy. Try cleaning a digger sufficiently before taking it to maintain or build a track. Or checking hundreds of bags of potting mix used for propagating native plants.

For a number of local staff it's a big part of their job to quarantine work equipment and personal gear going to islands such as Motuara or Long in Queen Charlotte Sound – Tōtaranui and Takapourewa (Stephens) or Te Paateka (Maud) in the Pelorus. They've seen everything from live spiders to teddy bears in gear. Even brand new gumboots straight from the shop full of seeds!

For more on what you can do to help click here.

 
   

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