Thursday, April 30, 2015
APRIL 29 NEW ZEALAND STRUGGLES TO CULL PESTS
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.
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!