What makes the ocean so fascinating, I believe, is that they speak for us.

The WHO Guide to sanitation in natural disasters (Assar, 1971) summarized the essential aspects of environmental health management in disasters. These included the provision of emergency water and sanitation services; the burial or cremation of the dead; vector and pest control; food hygiene; and the assessment of the danger of epidemics following emergencies and disasters, etc. Thirty years later these aspects remain essential, though the needs, challenges and opportunities are greater.

The two most fundamental pieces of information necessary to begin developing ecological studies and conservation strategies for reptiles (or any organisms) are identifying the species and knowing what a species does in its natural habitat.

Think of a challenging conservation problem you have encounters - protecting a rare species, winning support for legislation, cleaning up a river, or sustainably managing a forest.

This case study describes control to eradication of tradescantia (Tradescantia fluminensis, wandering jew) on Stephens Island (Takapourewa), Cook Strait. Control commenced in 1990 and most tradescantia was removed by May 1992, leaving only small isolated patches. Island caretakers attempted to control tradescantia along with their other tasks for the next 10 years. Tradescantia abundance increased over this period. Not until 2003 was the eradication goal


Native birds and animals of New Zealand had very few predators. Until the introduction of pests and rats onto New Zealand soils, they were able to roam freely and could be found in great numbers. Nowadays, they are subjected to extinction at an alarming rate. In response, the Department of Conservation sent out a team to eradicate rats through an experiment that proved successful. It was planned that in 1990, the Department of Conservation were to introduce some of the endangered animal species back onto Breaksea Island.

During 10–21 September, quantitative surveys were carried out of birds and flying foxes using the same techniques as applied in earlier surveys, and searches carried out for a rare parrot and lizard. Bird counts showed that the lupe or Pacific imperial-pigeon population has recovered following a decline between 1994 and 2004 though the current hunting rate is considered unsustainable. Miti or Polynesian starling numbers have gradually declined over the period 1994–2012 which is a concern and hard to explain. Rat predation is a possible cause.