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High class ferrets | by Archives New Zealand
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High class ferrets

A request to release hundreds of high class ferrets into Southland was made on this day 18 September.


This was due to the dubious practice of using one pest to kill another – in this case an exploding rabbit population which was wreaking devastation on farmland. The introduction of ferrets into an already compromised natural environment would spell disaster for native birds but this wasn’t on the radar of officialdom back in 1886. The only concern expressed by the Department of Internal Affairs was that the ferrets should be well bred and not sourced from farms of dubious repute.


Shown here is a letter from Angus MacDonald of Gore seeking to liberate the ferrets onto crown land in the Southland region. He was given permission to release between 500 and 800 ferrets by the Colonial Secretary in Wellington. He also provided a list of the approved breeders who were selling ferrets for between 9 and 10 shillings a head.


Archives reference: ACGO 8333 531 / [139] 1886/3300


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Uploaded on September 13, 2018