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© 2019  Richard Prosser

  • Richard Prosser

And now it's the cats.....apparently


Photo credit: RNZ / Stephen Bradley

In June last year this story ran in the NZ Herald, regarding plans by 'Green' Conservation Minister, Eugenie Sage, to open another front in her and her Party's Poison War against All Creatures They Don't Like. On that occasion, her intended target was - and remains, to my knowledge - the genetically unique, and medicinally very important, strain of sus scrofa domesticus that has established itself as the Auckland Island Pig, over the course of the last two centuries.


My response at the time is below:


(Facebook, June 25th 2018)

...."So....the pigs have been on the Auckland Islands since 1807. That's 211 years, Eugenie Sage. Better than two centuries.


How much damage could they possibly be doing, that they haven't already long since done? How can anyone claim that after two hundred generations, an animal is still an "introduced pest"?


The New Zealand Journal of Zoology says "The pigs' diet is simple, consisting mostly of plant food. In the high country, they eat a variety of different plants and earth worms. Those that inhabit the coast also eat a wide variety of plants, but their diet also includes bark, invertebrates, the remains of dead birds and sea lions, and the regurgitations of sea lions."


Yet according to DOC and the Minister, the Auckland Islands are "critically important breeding ground for seabirds and mammals - wildlife that is being killed by introduced pigs, cats and mice."


The fact, Minister, is that the pigs on the Auckland Islands are not introduced, and they are not pests. They are naturalised, and they are an intrinsic part of the ecosystem that has evolved around them.


Nature has developed a balance around them. Not one of the plant, bird, or marine mammal species that were on the islands before the pigs arrived have disappeared because of them. They have adapted, adjusted, evolved. This is what Nature does.


These pigs were a full and natural part of the ecology of the Auckland Islands more than three decades before the Treaty of Waitangi, more than half a century before the American Civil War, almost a century before the Boer War. They were there nearly a hundred years before man invented powered flight.


The year the pigs arrived on the Islands, Napoleon's armies were fighting the Russians. The US Congress and the British Parliament both banned the slave trade that year. Pall Mall in London became the first street in the world to be lit by gaslights in 1807, and the world's first passenger rail line opened in Swansea in Wales. Robert Fulton invented the first commercially successful steamboat, and the Navy of the Ottoman Empire was destroyed at the battle of Athos.


That's how long the pigs have been there, Minister. Their population is genetically distinct, stable, and in balance with the environment that is its home.


Why is it now so desperately urgent that we get rid of them, at any cost to the environment, at a ridiculously unnecessary cost to the taxpayer, that you feel the need to bombard yet another fragile wilderness with tonnes of indiscriminate poison? Are you actually running out of places to poison? Are you becoming short of clean environments to violate with toxic chemicals?


How does dropping massive quantities of systemic ecotoxins from the air, onto one of the few remaining uninhabited land masses on earth, tally with our claim - our great lie, as a nation - that we are 'clean and green'?


This unhinged zealotry, fixated on killing, poisoning, destroying entire species; it is a form of madness.


Contemplate this thought for a moment; all these species on which you have declared poisonous war, all these creatures, these living things, that you seek to eradicate, to poison into oblivion; they are all native species of Planet Earth.


What is actually going on in the bit of your head that is supposed to do the thinking?

You people aren't Green. You're insane."


- ENDS -


And now, it would seem, the same toxic gunsights are being leveled at the pigs' friends and neighbours on their island home these past two hundred years and more, they being feral cats.


Radio New Zealand is running a story about how the Cats of the Subantarctic have suddenly, after better than 200 years, become a problem for some of the longer-establish fauna there.


"Feral cats are causing havoc on Auckland Island and the Department of Conservation (DOC) is trying to work out how to rid the sub-Antarctic island of them. " - the headline screams.


"A 19-strong team returned from Auckland lsland last week, having braved cold, wet and windy conditions to learn more about the behaviour of feral cats and other introduced pests like pigs and mice.


The pests have decimated the island's unique native plants and animals over the past 200 years, DOC said.


Maukahuka Pest Free Auckland Island project manager Steve Horn said the team tested potential cat baits, and three of the four meat baits tested proved appealing to cats.

The team's monitoring found that mouse numbers on the island had exploded after tussock seeding last summer, which appeared to have also caused an increase in young cats, Mr Horn said.


"Disturbingly we also saw a cat eating a young albatross, which it may have killed. We know that cats have devastated sea bird populations on the island, but this is the first time we've seen and photographed a white-capped mollymawk being eaten.""


OK, let's pull that to bits.


"The pests have decimated the island's unique native plants and animals over the past 200 years, DOC said."


- that doesn't even make sense. Clearly the unique native plants and animals HAVEN'T been decimated, as evidenced by the fact that they're still there.


"The team's monitoring found that mouse numbers on the island had exploded after tussock seeding last summer, which appeared to have also caused an increase in young cats, Mr Horn said."


- um, yeah. That's how Nature works. So ponder this - if you kill all the cats, what else, do you think, might take care of the mouse population?


"Disturbingly we also saw a cat eating a young albatross, which it may have killed. We know that cats have devastated sea bird populations on the island, but this is the first time we've seen and photographed a white-capped mollymawk being eaten.""


- um, no. That cat didn't kill that albatross. That's a mollymawk. It's a carnivore and a predator, and it's bigger than the cat. That mollymawk is sick or has been injured, and the cat is scavenging on it. Every thinking person knows this. And if this is the first time you've seen a white-capped mollymawk being eaten, how do you "know" that cats have "devastated sea bird populations" on the island?


You KNOW this, but it's the first time you've seen it. I mean what are you, psychic? Also, very clearly the sea bird populations HAVEN'T been devastated, BECAUSE THEY'RE STILL THERE.


Really, DoC, Eugenie, Forest & Bird, and the rest of you poison-obsessed eco-fascists - go and get some therapy.


Biodiversity is not enhanced by the eradication of species. Eradicating species, by definition, reduces biodiversity.


And Mother Nature is perfectly capable of establishing balance and equilibrium in her environments and ecosystems, all by Herself, as evidenced by your own observations of predators being in synch with prey, and nothing having become extinct. Leave the place alone, for God's sake. You will achieve nothing other than to make things worse by continually poking your poisonous nose in.


I will end by repeating what I said a year and a half ago: You people aren't Green. You're insane.