Wednesday, June 22, 2016

New Zealand stoats

Stoats were introduced into New Zealand to control introduced rabbits and hares, but are now a major threat to native bird populations. Many birds in Hawaii, New Zealand, and Cuba became extinct there. The subspecies of stoat that was introduced to New Zealand was the British stoat. New Zealand did not have any land based mammals apart from bats, but Polynesian and European settlers introduced a wide variety of animals. Warnings about the dangers to bird life from stoats were given by scientists in New Zealand and Britain, including the New Zealand ornithologist Water Buller. The warnings were ignored and stoats began to be introduced from Britain in the 1880's. Stoats are actually native to the Northern hemisphere of North America, Greenland, and Eurasia. Due to its presence in New Zealand, it is considered to be one of the 100 worst invasive species like the red foxes of Australia. Red foxes were also introduced to Australia in the 1850's to control introduced rabbits and hares there.

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