About 1,000 years ago the only land mammals in New Zealand were bats. Then Māori arrived, maybe around 1200AD and brought with them kurī (Polynesian dogs) and kiore (Polynesian rats). Europeans started arriving from around 1642 (Abel Tasman) and since then exotic flora and fauna have flooded in, at enormous cost to native species.
One example is the stoat (or weasel) that killed 3 of my quail this week:
Stoats belong to the same mustelid family of animals as weasels and ferrets. They’re bigger than weasels and smaller than ferrets. Stoats were introduced to New Zealand in the 1884 to control rabbits and hares. Scientists and bird-lovers warned that they would be a danger to our native birds, but their warnings were ignored.
So, for 400 years now all kinds of insects, animals and birds have been wreaking havoc on New Zealand's native species (not to mention the effects of people). Predator Free 2050 aims to
restore New Zealand’s natural taonga, economy and primary sector.
Rats, stoats, and possums kill approximately 25 million native birds every year. They are the most damaging mammalian predators that threaten New Zealand’s natural taonga, economy and primary sector.
Unfortunately, the one I caught got away. But I've baited my GoodNature trap and hope I can get the killer that cut my quail flock in half.