A plague of rats could descend on New Zealand next year, an environmental group warns.

Forest and Bird says a “pest plague” is on the cards next winter and spring.

The group has issued its warning based on the level of beech flowering happening now.

“An abundance of beech spring flowering will translate into an abundance of seed next autumn, known as ‘masting’, which in turn leads to an eruption of rat and stoat predator populations,” said Forest and Bird advocate Kevin Hackwell.

Department of Conservation (DOC) monitoring had confirmed this “abundant beech flowering”.

He said similar conditions happened in 2014, but DOC allocated funds toward pest control by delaying staff appointments.

Mr Hackwell said that wasn’t possible this year and he urged the Government to allocate emergency funding for pest control.

A “pest plague” would threaten the country’s endangered species and set back restoration and protection work, he said.

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Source NZME – http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11546457

 

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