A call by Forest and Bird to eradicate wild animals such as deer and chamois to combat global warming is out of touch
with reality says a recreational hunting advocacy.
Laurie Collins, convenor of the Sporting Hunters Outdoor Trust (SHOT) says the claims by Forest and Bird were “typically
wacky” but not surprising.
Recently Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague said a new Forest and Bird report gives a stark warning that ongoing damage by
introduced browsing pests causes native habitats to bleed stored carbon.
"The report, ‘Protecting our Natural Ecosystems’ Carbon Sinks
’ reveals the West Coast’s kāmahi-podocarp forests alone are presently bleeding 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 every year
because of browsing from deer, goats, chamois, and possums,” said Hague.
Collins said Forest and Bird’s claims were ludicrous in the light that New Zealand’s vegetation evolved over millions of
years under a strong browsing regime by moas, other ground herbivore birds and canopy birds such as kereru (pigeon).
He said eminent NZ ecologist the late Dr Graeme Caughley had estimated there were at least six million moa comprising
several sub-species that browsed tussock tops, forest, scrub and lowland vegetation. Landcare Research in 2000 estimated
there were about 250,000 wild deer.
“So the browsing impact is minimal compared to moas and other birds,” said Collins. “If moas hadn’t been eliminated by
hunting and habitat destruction by burning, would Forest and Bird be complaining and wanting moa eliminated?”
"Forest and Bird’s latest press release echoed calls by two director generals of DOC, some years ago, to eliminate deer
and other wild animals due to farting and belching. How much bodily functions did six million moa do?”
Collins said Forest and Bird’s wild claim was made more absurd by recent disclosure of Climate Change Minister James
Shaw and an entourage of eight travelling to Scotland by jet plane to attend climate change talks.
“Kevin Hague should be bailing the Minister and his bureaucrats up against the wall instead of expelling hot air over
wild animals,” he said.
Kevin Hague as a former Green MP and parliamentary college of current Climate Minister James Shaw, knows well the Green
Party’s agenda is to push “ecological doom agendas” to create “imaginary hobgoblins” in order to maintain funding aid.
If the Greens were realistic about carbon sequestering they would advocate for the recovery and development of peat
swamps which are enduring carbon sinks for as long as the peat swamp remains. In contrast trees and vegetation are only
effective for the life of a tree said Collins.
“Instead of being realistic and constructive Forest and Bird opts to fan the flames of the old 1930s anti-introduced
wild animal phobia,” he said.