Weekly insights into our crazy world.

Thursday, April 30, 2015



Things have been downright peculiar in New Zealand lately. Let's recap: Earlier this month, Kiwis celebrated Easter Sunday in their own, unique way: By killing bunnies. Yep, the 18th Annual Great Easter Bunny Hunt in Central Otago netted a record 14,799 rabbits. Then...earlier this week...another disturbing story came from the South Island. National Park officials announced the release of the deadly 1080 Poison and the successful culling of countless opossums, mice and other rodents. That's a lot of death for April!

Why so much anger towards little critters? Basically, modern-day New Zealanders are attempting to solve an age-old problem that has plagued the island nation for centuries. Ever since the first settlers arrived in 1769, they brought pests with them. Prior to this year, no mammals never inhabited the remote islands. ( OK! There are two tiny bat species, no native animals whatsoever!) Hence, the place was heaven for European rodents. With no cats and dogs for competition, they ate everything in sight.

Let's fast-forward a bit. Nowadays, the rodents on New Zealand have gone completely berserk. They are threatening a number of beloved indigenous bird species, which are found only in New Zealand. These include the Fairy Tern, the Kakapo, the Taiko and the White Heron. That's why Kiwis decided to release toxic poisons in their National Parks. It will kill the rodents but not the birds. It's hard to believe government and environmentalists signed off on such a crazy idea...But they did. All three national political parties, the Animal Health Board and...even the Maoris think it's a good idea to play God again with their habitat.

Which brings us to the massive Easter Bunny Hunt. If you're imaging hundreds of New Zealanders dressed like ELMER FUDD, you're not too far off! Here's the schedule: First, the hunters are grouped into 35 teams of six. They all have silly names like the Hair Raising Mutineers, Anti Pesto and the Cunculus Terminators. Then, they are randomly assigned plots of infested land to hunt. At the end of the day, dead bunnies are lined up in rows, and counted by officials. Finally, one lucky group is called the Winner!

While we aren't too sure about their methods, we here at the DUNER BLOG do applaud their effort. See, folks from one continent have ruined just about every other continent. In California, we are attempting to replace the eight million non-native Eucalyptus trees that have taken over every state park. Canadian Beavers are ruining Argentine rivers and destroying vast swaths of forests. Meanwhile, the South American Hyacinth continues to flourish in Africa's Lake Victoria. Trying to correct these mistakes isn't easy, but it must be done.

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