Predator control goes on hold
The Department of Conservation had to suspend all non-essential services,
including predator control programmes,during Covid-19 Level 4, which began
on March 5.
But the timing of the lockdown in many ways couldn't have been better, Brent Beaven, Predator Free 2050 manager for DOC, said.
Most birds weren't breeding, and most of the pests weren't breeding either, so he didn't expect to see a massive rise in pest numbers.
Predator control activities on public land were able to resume from May 13 when New Zealand moved to Level 2.
There was more good news the next day, with Predator Free 2050 receiving an
extra $76 million ($19 million a year) in the 2020 Budget, enabling it to co-fund new predator free projects around the country.
Thousands of hunters, however, had to wait until May 23, when the delayed duck hunting season began. It was extended until July 12.
In many places, wildlife appeared to enjoy the break from the madding crowds.
In Dunedin, the Otago Museum's Tropical Forest, home to hundreds of tropical butteries, staff reported some unusual cheeping sounds.
They discovered the forest’s zebra finches, apparently for the first time,
were raising chicks, partly because of the break from the usual stream of human visitors.
In Australia, scientists took advantage of the lack of maritime activity to learn the language of the Burrunan dolphins, a rare species which live in the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria. The scientists set up acoustic sound monitoring and, for the first time, were able to listen to what the dolphins had to say.
Further afield, there were reports of wildlife occupying abandoned spaces. These included a herd of wild goats taking over a town in north Wales, pink flamingos flourished in Albania, and wild boars roamed the streets of Haifa, Israel.