Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Lost in the Bush

The Avengers summarised the events "Lost in the Bush" by Serie Bradford in the form of a radio news broadcast.

Monday, 20 November 2017

The Kereru

The X-Men summarised the article Kaupapa Kereru in the form of an infographic.

The Kereru by Sativa

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Pests Cause and Effect

Continuing our inquiry into the native bush we collaborated on a cause and effect of introduced species to New Zealand.

Possums, rats and stoats have had a huge impact on our environment since their introduction to Aotearoa. To combat these pests New Zealand has an ambitious aim to be rid of them all by 2050.

Possums were introduced to New Zealand from Australia in 1837 to establish a fur trade. However there numbers soon grew to such an extent that there is now approximately 30 million possums in New Zealand. The effect of this invasion is the serious damage of native trees. Possums eat a huge number of leaves. This can stress a tree so much it will eventually die. Some forests have lost all of their rata and kamahi, two of the possum’s favourite species. Possums have no natural predators in New Zealand therefore numbers must be controlled with traps, poison and by being hunted.

Stoats -
Stoats are public enemy number one and were introduced to New Zealand by European settlers in 1879 to control the number of rabbits and hares.  An unexpected effect of their introduction though was to cause the extinction of many native birds. Stoats attack birds that nest in trees such as the mohua and kaka. Stoats can take out eggs, chicks and incubating adults in one go. The stoat has also caused many subspecies to become extinct such as the bush wren, laughing owl and the New Zealand thrush.

Rats -
Norway (brown or water) rats were introduced to New Zealand unintentionally by being stowaways on the boats and ships that arrived in the late 1700’s. The introduction of rats contributed to the extinction of some native bird species. Rats are especially dangerous because they are able to climb the trees and enter the nests of native birds.

Possums, rats and stoats are New Zealand’s most wanted pests having caused the destruction of the native bush and the extinction of native birds and animals. To protect our native forests, animals and plants we must rid these species from our shores for good.

Kereru Vs Kakapo

After reading "Kaupapa Kereru" by Ross Calman the X-Men used a SOLO Hot map to compare the kereru with the kakapo.

When walking through the bush, you’re likely to hear kereru crashing through the trees, wings flapping noisily. You may also catch a glimpse of their plump shape and sleek, colourful plumage. Another native bird you may encounter, if you are lucky, is the largest flightless parrot in the world, the kakapo.
Native to New Zealand - Liam and Connor
The  kereru and kakapo are amongst many birds native to Aotearoa. The kereru can be found in the lowland, native forests of the North and in the South island. The kakapo is found in the forested islands of Maud island and Little Barrier Island.

Vulnerable to Extinction - Arav and Sam
Like many of our native birds, the kereru and kakapo is under threat of extinction. The kereru is under threat by Illegal hunting. Some other threats include being eaten by animals such as cats, possums, stoats and rats. These creatures have been reducing the numbers of kereru over the years. The kakapo however is in more immediate danger as numbers have reduced to only 126 birds.

Eggs in nests - Siya and Sarah
Both the kereru and kakapo build nests to lay eggs and raise their young. Kereru lay between one to three eggs depending on the food source available. The nest is an untidy platform that sits in the trees. The parents lay one egg at a time and take turns looking after their young which takes about a month to hatch. However the kakapo is different as it lays between one to four eggs on the forest floor.

Organisations helping protect them - Angelika and Sativa
Luckily for the kereru and kakapo there are organisations that have been formed to help protect them. Kaupapa Kereru was first created in 2000 by Ngai Tahu to help protect the kereru. Actions Kaupapa kereru have taken have been growing plants that kereru eat, trying to keep cats away from breeding grounds and schools have also been helping by making and selling kaupapa kereru calendars. As for the kakapo a partnership between D.O.C and forest and birds was formed to protect the kakapo.

Although both birds are taonga to Aotearoa it is the kakapo that is under more serious threat of extinction. Therefore we need to take action to prevent their loss by donating money and volunteering our time to the D.O.C and forest and bird, as well as helping eradicate threats such as cats, dogs, stoats and rats.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Possum Vs Rats

As part of our inquiry into the New Zealand Bush we compared two of our most destructive pests - the Possum and the rat.

The New Zealand native bush is home to a large variety of flora and fauna. However not all of these species are native or even helpful to the bush ecosystem. Certain animals have done immense damage to the native New Zealand bush. Two such animals are the possum and the rat.

Introduced Species - X - Men
Both the rat and possum were introduced to New Zealand from other countries. The possum was brought from Australia in the mid 1800s to be used for fur. Whereas the rat was not brought here intentionally, they were stowaways on ships that carried Polynesian settlers in the 1250’s - 1300’s. Ship rats or Norway rats came to New Zealand with the first European settlers. The introduction of rats is thought to have contributed to the extinction of native birds.  

Pests - Guardians of the Galaxy
The possum and the rat are both pests. They both wreak havoc on the New Zealand bush. Possums eat seedlings and leaves preventing the regrowth of native trees, they also devour buds, fruit, flowers, fungi, insects and eggs.  The rat similarly eats eggs but also birds and is responsible for killing native species of birds and bats. Although both destructive pests possums are considered more dangerous due to their large numbers, there is thought to be around 30 million possums in New Zealand.

Numbers being controlled - Avengers
We all know that possums and rats are some of the biggest pests in the native bush. They destroy many important resources like native trees, birds and eggs. People are trying to control the number of possums by shooting and setting traps to kill them. To control rat numbers people such as the Department of Conservation (D.O.C) have enlisted the help of inventors to create self setting traps.

Other uses - Justice League
Although possums and rats are considered pests there are other uses for these animals. Possum fur can be used to make hats, gloves and scarfs. Possum meat can also be used for cooking purposes such as Possum Pie. Rats can be useful in numerous ways, one of these uses is for scientific experiments such as testing different types of medicine. Rats can also be household pets, as rats can be trained to do a variety of tricks.

The native New Zealand bush is a taonga and needs our help in preserving it. We believe it is essential that pest numbers are controlled to preserve our native bush. The possum and rat need to be targeted with new and improved traps in order to reduce further damage to our native bush.

Bird Food?

Using information from the text 'The Bush Supermarket' we created unique menus for some of our native birds.

Harrier Hawk by Harrison

Wood Pigeon by Kyza

Tui by Liam

Monday, 13 November 2017

Birds of the Native Bush Analysis

"The Bush Supermarket" by Julie Stroud inspired us to analyse how native birds interact with our native bush.

All ecosystems, whether they are marine, freshwater or located in native bush, involve relationships between plants and animals. In our native bush there is an important relationship between birds and our plants and trees.

Fantail - GOTG
The fantail or piwakawaka eats flying insects, caterpillars and spiders low down among the ferns and tree ferns in the bush. The fantail is able to eat these insects as they use their upright tails for hovering and have bristles around their beak which act like a net. If the fantail was to be removed from the bush ecosystem the number of insects would multiply. Pest insects would spread disease and damage crops meaning fewer native plants and trees.

Wood Pigeon - GOTG
Many of our native trees depends on the wood pigeon or kereru to eat their fruit and spread seeds. The bird’s loss would be a disaster for our bush. Native plants are dependent on birds for successful seed dispersal and regeneration. Once a seed has passed through the digestive tract of a bird, it will often be dropped far away from the host tree’s location, enabling the tree to potentially colonise a new area. Without the kereru native trees would not grow as widely. Trees are needed for oxygen, shelter and to control the temperature and without them our world would not be the same

Harrier Hawk - X-Men
The Harrier hawk has a vital role in the bush environment as it cleans up the leftovers of dead animal carcusses. By doing that role the bacteria from carcusses will not spread disease across the forest. The Harrier Hawk also controls pests such as rats and mice. Without the hawk controlling numbers the rats, mice and rabbits would destroy seedlings and spread disease.

Kingfisher - Avengers
The kingfisher or kotare eats small fish called minnows, shrimps, crayfish and frogs. If the kingfisher was removed from the bush ecosystem the food chain would collapse. There would be an overpopulation of fish, frogs and crayfish. This would mean there would be more competition for food sources meaning more animals would die.

New Zealand native birds have a key role in the pollination and seed dispersal of our native flora as well as protecting the bush from predators. Birds are essential to ensure the future of our native bush ecosystem for generations to come. Therefore it is important to protect them from harm by conserving our native bush.