On 10 January 1867, bird species such as pheasant, blackbirds, thrushes and starlings were introduced to Canterbury.
The Canterbury Acclimatisation Society had formed just four year before and the releasing of the above species coincided with a similar release made by Auckland’s Acclimatisation Society.
Sadly, at this time, no research or science was conducted before such releases bearing no thought of the impact it would have on New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. With the passing of the Animal Protection and Salmon and Trout Acts in 1867, the country was wide open for these legal imports.
If 25% or more of these animals survive the months at sea – stored up in cages on the ship’s deck – the import was considered a success. Licenses were sold for game animals (deer and birds) and this income continued to fund these societies work.
For New Zealand especially, the result of this part of our history is still proving disastrous with some of the introduced species.
*Image courtesy of the Melbourne Music Boutique – http://melbournemusicboutique.com/