Brendan Moyle

Massey University senior lecturer, Dr Brendan Moyle, has been passionate about wildlife his entire life, which motivated him to gain qualifications in zoology and economics. The economics comes from a simple realisation. Most causes of wildlife loss are ultimately economic in nature. Threats like habitat loss and poaching are fundamentally economic in nature. Of late he's been focused more on issues of wildlife poaching. When he started out as a zoologist, Brendan had a fascination with some of our smallest arachnids- the falsescorpions. Since then he's moved on to various crocodilians, and more recently, tigers. This takes him to smuggling ‘hotspots’, where avoiding getting eaten by large carnivores, bitten by small venomous reptiles, shot at by smugglers seem to be important skills. Like many other conservationists, I’ve also developed a keen interest in wildlife photography.

No, the Ivory Trade in Australia and NZ is not “thriving” - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Oct 02, 2016

One can always tell when the parties to the CITES convention are meeting, or just about to meet.  Numerous NGOs start promoting their views and solutions to the problem to the media. It came as no great surprise to read this in today’s Stuff webpage “A first-ever comprehensive investigation into the sale of ivory and rhino horn in Australian and New Zealand auction houses has found the trade is flourishing. Across a nine-month period, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) found 2,772 ivory items for sale at 175 auctions in 21 auction houses across the two countries.” Seriously, does anyone believe that checking out auction houses is a “comprehensive investigation”?  It’s a bit over-sold. Let’s get some perspective on these numbers.  A recent survey of items for … Read More

Sunday Seascape: 25 September - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Sep 25, 2016

It’s not been a great weekend for outdoor photography in Auckland.  The steady rain and grey skies, without any dramatic storms, offered me few chances.  I did photograph the neighbour’s cat a couple of times, but it’s not really the same. These shots are thus, taken a little earlier in the week.  They’re of the sunrise at Waiake Beach.  On one of those perfect days over the Hauraki Gulf, that also lacked the dramatic oomph I wanted.  But it was still a glorious thing to see.  In both cases I’m using my Sony a7R for the shots, but less usually, I’m using my iPhone as a camera remote. In this case it works even better than a regular remote, as I can view the composition on the screen of the phone. I have finally succumbed and bought an iPhone.  It’s … Read More

Weekend sparrow antics - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Sep 18, 2016

It’s been a while since I’ve done some bird photography.  It’s a shame because it is one of the subjects that kindled my interest in photography again.  As much as I enjoy landscape photography now, there is something about bird photography I enjoy. Maybe it is a throwback to when I was young, and my first encounters with wildlife were the garden birds that visited.  Whatever the reason, it was a wet weekend and one that wasn’t optimal for landscape photography.  Normally landscape photography is a bit more predictable than birds.  Waterfalls after all, don’t move around much. And they’re always there.  Birds are much less predictable subjects. I’ve also now got a camera that seems better able to cope with birds.  Albeit the gray skies, wind and rain would provide a challenge. All photos taken with a Sony a77ii … Read More

The perception that cycling is dangerous - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Sep 06, 2016

I like to bike.  It is my favourite commuting option.  I started commuting by bike in the late 1990s when cycle lanes were non-existent in Auckland.  I’m still cycling. Yet despite working at a University where showers are available, where bike racks are provided, I’m still in a tiny minority.  The option to ride two-abreast for me is non-existent.  Statistically speaking, practically nobody else is using these roads to cycle on. And over my years of experience, no, I’ve not ridden through a red light. In most cases I don’t have a problem with motorists.  Often they’re traveling so slowly now, I’m moving faster along the cycle lanes available.  Yet it is hard to ignore the motorists who remind you- daily- that this is not a safe option.  They’re aggressive, they’re careless, they pose a risk. This year I’ve already … Read More

Sunday Seascape – 4 September - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Sep 04, 2016

This week I got out to Te Henga (Bethells Beach) for some photography.  I’ve not previously managed to get out there, despite a couple of visits to Lake Wainamu.  One of the motivating reasons was the weather on Tuesday was near perfect in Auckland.  The clear skies and almost total lack of clouds in the morning also meant my waterfall photography was compromised.  Bright sunlight dappling waterfalls is not a good look. The drive from the North Shore in the mornings is easier if you avoid the motorways.  I take a route via Albany through to Riverhead, Tupaki then Te Henga.  The weather stays near perfect.  I’d hate to have been stuck working inside that day. I decided to take the Te Henga walkway when I arrived, and O’Neill’s Bay provided a wonderful vista. Click for original photo Down … Read More

Just another manic #Friding - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Aug 26, 2016

It’s not been the best week for cycling in Auckland. It’s not that you can’t bike in the rain. But I got hit with some unanticipated wet stuff, so had to dry clothes off.  I was pleased to have a good day for biking today.  Well, good in the sense it has stopped raining.  The head-wind wasn’t as appreciated. We had a staff lunch this week. There was a lot of chocolate cake.  It was also alleged I’m uncommonly fit and lean.  I’m also the only one who commutes to work by bike.  Regularly, every week, every month, year after year.  I suspect there’s a correlation.  It does however surprise me, that even though I work at a university the numbers of people (staff and student) who come in by bike is so, incredibly low.  The point too, of the … Read More

Sunday Seascape 21 August - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Aug 22, 2016

Sunday is my time for seascape photography. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out where the weekend goes.  But by Sunday afternoon it was time to visit a beach and absorb some of that lovely, NZ fresh air.  The cool weather means we have practically no heat haze at the moment.  That produces a nice clarity in images this time of year.  And with the weather a little more settled, there’s not much sand and spray in the air also. I’d been to Long Bay the last couple of times.  This time I went back to Waiake.  In part I wanted to practice using my newish 135mm f2.8 STF lens.  And partly because it is a very attractive bay. This was the view from the Tor, looking out toward Rangitoto Island.  You can make out part of the filter system I … Read More

Sunday Seascape – 7 August - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Aug 08, 2016

I got a new lens just before I went to China.  It’s a 135mm prime.  More specifically, it is the Sony 135mm f2.8 T4.5 STF lens.  The 135mm focal length has created a perspective I haven’t often used.  So part of the weekend goal was to practice composing photos at this length.  It also make sit easier to decide what lenses to bring when you only shoot with one lens 🙂 The shot below was taken at the Long Bay Regional Park, overlooking the Hauraki Gulf with Rangitoto island in the distance.  Fortunately it didn’t rain, or snow, all weekend long in Auckland. And as a bonus shot, some of the beach Photos taken with Sony a7R and 135mm f2.8 T4.5 … Read More

Tigers and people don’t play well together - Unsorted

Jul 25, 2016

The news this weekend included mention of the attacks on two women in China, in a tiger safari park. Tigers are very efficient predators.  The Amur (Siberian) tiger for instance, can grow up to 250kg.  It is the largest of the large cat species, and a very efficient predator.  In Asia they have long killed people, in numbers that may astonish us today.  Using reliable reports across Asia, Nyhus et al.[1] report an estimated 373,000 human deaths from tigers over the period 1800-2009.  It is really no surprise how quickly and easily these animals can kill people. A growing problem is the disconnect we have from wildlife.  Wild animals are portrayed or perceived as being like domestic animals, but in more exotic fur.  Wild animals don’t behave like domestic animals.  Tigers aren’t like large over-grown house cats.  And one … Read More

Sunday Seascape- 24 July - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Jul 24, 2016

Well, I got back in NZ on Friday.  It was just for a quick meeting in Beijing on Asiatic black-bear conservation. China is home to more than just pandas.  Although that’s easy to overlook given the amount of merchandise with bears on it.  I even found a decent beer there (Panda Eyes Red Honey Ale) using pandas.  No pandas of course were used to make the beer.  If you want a change from Tsingtao, Budweiser or Heineken though (and who doesn’t!) I can recommend it.  It has a nice red ale taste with mild hops. Anyway, we were there for the black-bears.  I can’t report on anything because things are confidential, but there seem to be grounds for cautious optimism. Before this however, we had a holiday up in the Bay of Islands. So that meant I could see … Read More