Why were stoats and ferrets introduced to New Zealand?

The other day, a colleague of mine asked: “Why were stoats and ferrets introduced into New Zealand? Do you know?”. I put on my best “all-knowing” face, and said “To control rabbits”. But even as I said it, I wavered with uncertainty, because it seemed so preposterous – a bit like the old lady who swallowed the spider (to eat the fly). Continue reading

Challenging assumptions – what is natural?

Herds of deer in virtually treeless fields is a common sight in New Zealand, but to many Europeans, who are used to seeing deer in their natural habitat – the forest – it appears incongruous, and even cruel, to keep these forest animals in open fields, particularly on a hot summer’s day. Continue reading