be honest now, hands up who fell for a April Fool's blog or prank.
I did - I fell for two, I wont mention which two as I'm aware it is still April Fool's Day in other parts of the world (it is Tuesday morning here and for some reason the AnD site wont accept NZ time). In NZ April Fool's ends at lunch time is this true of other places too?
All I can say to the two who got me you bloody buggery bollocking bastards!
At least I didn't fall for the intranet story at work (though many did) this is it:
Rats to find Frogs
"Enemies to become allies" says Minister of Conservation Steve Chadwick announcing initial success at training rats to locate New Zealand's tiny rare native frogs. "Aside from being nocturnal, and extremely well-camouflaged, the frogs are also tiny, easily fitting into a matchbox."
"It's a bold move for the Department but the rats have a unique sense of smell and can move through the bush with minimal disturbance" she said. "Given the frogs are so small, locating them for population monitoring purposes is nothing short of difficult. Volunteers for frog counts are hard to find even though one could be a prince."
There are only four surviving native frog species. All are nationally threatened, with the rarest, Hamilton's frog (
Leiopelma hamiltoni), numbering less than 300. New Zealand's native frog species are endemic and belong to the genus
Leiopelma. They have some very distinctive features and behaviours such as they make ‘chirping' sounds, have round eye pupils (not slits) and they do not have webbed feet.
"The Department has successfully used dogs to locate kiwi and skinks" said Ms Chadwick "But dogs are just too big and cause too much disturbance of the bush in this case."
The programme to train rats began last year. The Department has decided that white rats are best for visual and ease of recovery purposes. Initially normal grey rats were used but they were lost sight of and never recovered. The rats have been trained to freeze when they sense a frog, with the reward of food; it also makes them easy to recover.
The Department now has trained four rats, the best one, Maramawhā, has potentially located a new species on Kaikoura Island. It has been given the temporary name
Aperira-ano" until confirmed, a Department spokesperson said. It is sheer coincidence that in the Chinese year of the rat and the international year of the frog these two species are working together.****
Now the characteristics of NZ frogs are all true, but using rats on Conservation land is just not gonna happen. We are trying to eliminate the little killing machines. Plus the new species of frog - Aperira is Maori for April and Maramawha means fourth month.
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