Welcome to the first edition of The Lolly Planet Guide! The plans to take over / save the world are in motion!
As the self appointed Stray Eco Warrior / Captain Planet representative, it is of course my duty to consistently update all you legions of keen sidekicks on ways to save the world a little bit, as well as documenting the Lolly Bus’s missions and anything else interesting I discover on my travels.
Recently I brought into being the ‘Lolly Bus Trap Fund’ as you can see in this photo.
Now this might just look like a bit of wool haphazardly sewn onto an old pillow case – and it is – but it is also my latest development in world conservation (and maybe eventually domination).
Why do we need traps, you may ask? Well, trusty sidekicks, turn off all distractions (perhaps find a comfy spot in a dark cupboard) and read on for enlightenment.
A very brief history of New Zealand
Imagine planet Earth, long long long ago. It is a time of dinosaurs, 60 million years before humans, even before such thing as flowers.
The continents are placed completely differently on the globe. A huge super-continent, Gondwanaland, is made up of future America, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica. A tiny area which will become future New Zealand, with more land mass soon to rise up out of the sea, has just split off and will evolve in absolute isolation to the rest of the planet for the next 85 million years.
And so in its isolated little corner, NZ developed birds and insects of which 90% are unique in the world.
Then 800 years ago, our own species arrived- the final habitable land mass to be discovered. And since then they’ve decided to spice things up a bit. They burned and cut down massive endemic forests. They ate some birds into extinction. They brought in possums for fur, rabbits for hunting, stoats for catching the rabbits. They brought in foreign trees and plants to make the settlers feel ‘at home.’ Every single mammal and many of the plants you see in New Zealand was brought in from elsewhere, into an environment that after 85 million peaceful years was suddenly hit with such force it was totally transformed.
A third of the native birds were gone from existence within 800 years. Another third are currently endangered. Our birds are so defenceless to outside predators, some (such as the kiwi) have only a 5% chance of survival born in the wild.
But don’t worry – here comes the good part.
There is a huge and passionate movement now amongst the Kiwi people to protect and conserve our native environment. One third of the land is now protected, and Department of Conservation volunteers and keen Kiwi public up and down the country work hard to protect and grow our unique wildlife. Numbers amongst most endangered species are now growing, thanks to breeding programs and islands restored to their pest free past.
And if we didn’t keep down predator numbers? All our unique wildlife such as kiwis, takahe, and blue ducks would be a thing of the past. Stoats, rats and wild cats would roam unchecked, tops of the food chain, multiplying exponentially. Possums would strip every native tree until there was nothing left.
New Zealand would be a very different place.
So the more traps we have, the less predators there are, and the safer our native birds are.
And what’s CaptainLollyPlanet doing about this? Well I’ll tell ya!
On our Stray buses we often have group meals, in which everyone puts in some money and we all cook together as a nice little bonding experience. Sometimes people don’t sign up as maybe they are suspicious of my culinary skills. Then of course they see the deliciousness before them and cannot resist. And so we have a bit of extra money.
This goes straight to the trap fund.
Then maybe people want to get a bit involved in the conservation efforts, as generally you do tend to get quite attached to the loveliness of NZ as you go around. But with the average price of a sandwich is this country (not to mention the bungys and jetboats and jumping out of planes that people like to do) it doesn’t generally leave much money left for a full trap sponsorship of $100.
The trap fund will, however, take donations of ten cents or more. Put in $3 and you also get to suggest a name to be engraved on the trap. For each trap we sponsor (prices vary around the country) I’ll pull a name out and if you’re lucky your name will live on here forever, squashing evil and saving kiwis.
So far, after two short months, we have a trap at Blue Duck Station called Michael Jackson’s Neverland II (after a passenger of the very same name) and one on the West Coast called ‘Maaike’s Something Catchy,’ and we are half way to the next one (which looks at this stage like it may be called ‘The Tominator’).
Every single pest caught in every single trap saves out unique wildlife. That one squashed rat might have gone on to have hundreds of hungry descendants. Every little bit makes a difference! And one day… we will have an entire Trap Army….
So, my Lolly Planet trusty sidekicks, I’ll be back soon for more chats about world domination.
Go forth and conquer!
Lolly is one of our wonderful, hilarious, intelligent and extremely attractive drivers. When she’s not showing backpacking enthusiasts the beautiful sights around the country, she also writes some things such as her Lolly Planet Guide, a blog on just how to save the world, and this blurb.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming editions of the Lolly Plant Guide, coming soon to a screen near you.