- Wayne Linklater

Dr Wayne Linklater is a researcher in Wildlife Biology & Human Dimensions Ecology at Victoria University. He is also Ex-Officio Representative on New Zealand's CITES Scientific Authorities Committee and Co-President (Academic) of the Victoria University Branch of the Tertiary Education Union.

Cats Front and Centre in Oakland, CA - Politecol

May 31, 2013

  My neighbour was assaulted and his home invaded this morning. A man dressed as sewage inspector knocked four doors down the street around breakfast time and pulled a pistol when it was opened. But they are a ballsy bunch in Oakland. My neighbour put up a fight. While his wife and children slumbered, assailant and neighbour struggled and together fell down the high porch stairs. The pistol went off, the neighbour broke his ankles, and the invader took off. 16 police cars arrived to make sure the neighbourhood felt its tax dollar was not being wasted – just your ordinary day in Oakland City. I am certain there were other home invasions yesterday too. But home invasions and shootings are not front page news in Oakland. Cats are. Today, standing on the street having retrieved the morning paper and … Read More

Cats indoors Karori… killing-fields Kelburn - Politecol

May 29, 2013

  I caught a mouse in my compost bin, but it jumped over me to freedom. Rats live there now. The holes dug through my rotting household waste are large. Five neighbourhood cats visit my backyard. They take turns arriving at first light for reconnaissance of my weedy wilderness and then to sit atop the fence to wait for prey. There are Australian possums living over the road. I step over their poo on my way down to Marsden Village for the Saturday paper and morning coffee. I saw a weasel dash across Braithwaite Street. It ascended the steep rocky hillside towards Ponsonby Road like it was falling. My neighbourhood is alive with killers of native wildlife. Only my cats … Read More

At home with cats - Politecol

May 17, 2013

My cats died. I buried them – head to toe, together – in my rambling garden below the kowhai tree. I don’t garden on their grave. It is a weedy sinking mound – a tribute to what the living cannot control. I met my cats because I fell in love. She sat across from me at dinner – a birthday celebration for the man who would one day marry us on a rocky point off La Jolla, San Diego. I’d been in San Diego for just a few hours. It was foreign and the table of colleagues and future friends new to me. She smiled. I knew a week later I would marry her. I met her cats two weeks later. She lived … Read More

The 10 most WANTED – New Zealand’s conservation wishlist - Politecol

May 14, 2013

We are good at killing pests. We are winning battles on offshore islands or temporarily holding the front on the mainland, but we are not winning the war on pests… yet. New Zealand’s Department of Conservation want new tools, better tactics and grander strategy for the protection and security of our nation’s biodiversity. And they got them at the Pest Summit. If you could put financial limits, logistic constraints aside what would you do to win the war on pests? In what ideas would you invest your research dollar to rapidly transform the war against pests in our favour? This is the wishlist of 50 New Zealand scientists from the Pest Summit: 1. Larger scale pest management – existing tools applied on a massive spatial scale, necessarily requiring greater cooperation of communities. 2. Internationalise – facilitate and coordinate international … Read More

Its great to be Number 1, but… - Politecol

May 02, 2013

I’d reply, ‘Awesome!’, ‘Wonderful’, ‘Pretty damn good’, ‘Deserved’, but no one has asked. I understand why no one asks. Gloating is seldom encouraged. But that is how it feels to be Director of New Zealand’s highest ranked university centre for applied ecology … … in the leading Ecology, Behaviour & Evolution research group… … at the number 1 university for research in New Zealand?’   The Tertiary Education Commission’s evaluation of university research performance was released last month. It determines how our universities will be funded for the next 6 years – the Performance-based Research Fund (PBRF). Victoria University did extremely well. But then… ‘So what?’ What does this ranking mean to you if you do not administer or operate in a university? Being number 1 for research in ecology means very little unless all that research … Read More

Where’s Waynie? - Politecol

Apr 24, 2013

My daughter, Zoerita Jacks, was born in early February. During my 10 weeks parental leave, I had plans to at least keep writing and posting on this and my other blog. Politics and ecology, of course, do not sleep either. But the impossibility of daily routines with newborns and preparations to move the family for eight months sabbatical at UC-Berkeley soaked up all fragments of free time. And also, parental “leave” – hilarious – was punctuated by the usual university works, like post-graduate students’ thesis deadlines and research contract milestones, that sealed the fate of aspirations for writing. But that is all behind me. With gorgeous new smiling daughter, we arrived yesterday in The Bay. I am on sabbatical at last! Zoerita woke me early and I packed her for a dawn stroll to induce her next … Read More

Wanted – pied pipers for New Zealand - Politecol

Apr 06, 2013

Lures have been critical to the control of New Zealand’ introduced mammalian pests.  Convincing a mammal, like a rat, to visit or enter a trap and behave in ways that trigger its lethal mechanism has depended largely on food lures – aniseed, chocolate, peanut butter, eggs, meat and many more. But the power of food lures is limited. They are not attractive enough for all animals all the time. Some animals are disinterested or less motivated by food. Food lures are also seldom attractive enough to draw animals from substantial distances, such as out of the ranges in which they live. Thus, traps largely capture just animals living locally. Food lures also decay quickly to become unattractive. Read More

Science, evidence, policy and good government - Politecol

Feb 07, 2013

Since beginning Polit-ecol Science a small number of colleagues have queried me on why I would write a blog that might be political and, to some, contentious. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that they would not do such a thing because it might impact on their chances of career advancement and success at external research funding. Frankly, the implication that parts of our science community might cower from debate and critique on issues that they could inform and that are important to others in our nation’s communities is alarming. Policy on the environment, informed by ecological science, divides New Zealand’s parliament. Governments, even in relatively transparent democracies have a Jekyll and Hyde relationship with science and scientists. One cannot claim the mantle of improving the quality and quantity of peoples’ lives in the modern world without co-opting … Read More

SPCA’s cruelty to cats and other animals – Are they mad? - Politecol

Jan 30, 2013

Trapped, neutered and released stray and feral cats continue to inflict pain and suffering on native wildlife and people. Hunting cats, not part of the  native ecosystem, torture and kill other animals unnecessarily. Diseased stray and feral cats, when threatened or cornered inadvertently, will bite and scratch to injure, and transmit diseases to people. Why does the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals not care about preventing cruelty in other animals, only cats? The SPCA’s support for trap-neuter-release (TNR) programs becomes even more bizarre when we consider that TNR also inflicts pain and suffering on cats… yes cats! There is a strange belief that animals alive have better welfare than dead animals, even though they are subject to lives that are cruel. TNR programs inflict suffering on cats. Stray cats are diseased, full of parasites, … Read More

Trap-neuter-release or Trap-kill-$5? - Politecol

Jan 30, 2013

To my horror, but thanks to Dr. Gareth Morgan’s recent announcement that he will donate $5 to Bob Kerridge’s SPCA for every cat they euthanize rather than release, I discovered that some factions of the SPCA are releasing cats into our cities, towns and countryside – lots of cats. Bob Kerridge – CEO SPCA – is considered a hero by a few for it. They call it trap-neuter-release – TNR But TNR is not a solution TNR programs do not stop the cat problem because cat numbers can only decline when a cat dies. But more cats are abandoned and migrate into the colony from other places to replace those that die [1]. Indeed, the presence of TNR in a neighbourhood is likely to encourage some domestic cat owners to release and … Read More