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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Vertebrate pests in New Zealand: Research and control


New Zealand, by its isolation, evolved a unique fauna in the absence of humans. With essentially no native mammals, it evolved a diverse fauna of flightless birds, while many of its native flighted birds nested on the ground. The Polynesian immigrants and the Maoris began changes to the environment that led to extinction of some species, but in the early 19th Century, European colonists introduced many mammals that have had appalling negative effects on the New Zealand environment. Damage to flora and the environment by European rabbits, hares, possums, deer, chamois, and tahr is described. Government efforts to control the Australian brush-tailed possum began in the 1940s and are described, with emphasis on the use of sodium fluoroacetate (1080).

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