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Because New Zealand flora and fauna evolved without herbivorous mammals to graze plants or predatory mammals to eat the herbivores, when humans arrived and brought with them the Polynesian rat/kiore, several small bird species, natives frogs and beetles soon became extinct.

This was just the start of a mammal-driven mass extinction. Europeans brought pigs, goats, deer, dogs, sheep, horse, cattle, and of direct concern to braided rivers, predatory animals.

Invasive plants are also a growing – no pun intended – problem, along with human activities, both recreational and commercial: extraction of shingle,  irrigation and electricity generation, and conversion of braided river margins to intensive agriculture.

A growing problem, one set to trump them all in the decades to come, is climate change. It multiplies existing threats and it also brings two new threats: rising seas inundating coastal lagoons and estuaries, and ocean acidification depleting marine food sources.

Strategies for managing these threats is continuously being researched and refined. Trapping pest mammals, preventing the spread of invasive weeds, and engaging with businesses and communities to help protect breeding birds and their habitats, is a key winning strategy, one being undertaken by BRaid and its partner organisations. Find out how you can get involved.

Setting Timms trap to catch feral cats on the Ashley River

Setting Timms trap to catch feral cats on the Ashley River


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