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'Pest Feast' event a hit with Wellingtonians as Conservation Week wraps up

Conservation Week has wrapped up in Wellington with some quirky alternatives for getting involved.

Wellington Harbourside Market held a Pest Feast event with options like Balinese-style wild goat fried rice, wild wallaby meatball chilli, bagels made of foraged weeds and rabbit sausage roll on the menu.

“Everyone who gets one, they’re just like, ‘Oh my god, it smells so good!’” Juanita Leynes from Sixes and Sevens said about the popular rabbit dish.

Viva Mexico’s Rodrigo Quirarte said if pests are being killed, it makes sense to not waste their meat.

“This is a start to get people to start thinking about alternative ways of dealing with pests,” he said.

A taxidermy workshop was run by Antoinette Ratcliffe at Zealandia yesterday.

The artist said her workshops are regularly sold out in line with increased trapping efforts from the community working towards the Government’s goal to be free of predators by 2050.

“I’ve found in the last year it’s just gone up and up.

“Please put them in the freezer for me, I’m running out of stock,” Ms Ratcliffe said.

She said taxidermy is useful for showing people what predators look like and features of their bodies for hunting.

“They’re so beautiful… and being able to use these animals that would otherwise be cremated and wasted.”

The artist is a veterinarian nurse by day, and had to take some time to decide whether she wanted to give it a go.

“I did my first one and it was a myna and I got the specimen out of our wildlife bag.

“The first one was horrific.”

Workshop participant Rachell Budd was curious about the art form, and wanted something to do with the rodents her cat brings in.

“I think once you divorce yourself from what it actually is and your in part of the process… it was quite interesting,” she said.

Another attendee, Nicole Swain, runs the Normandale predator-free trapping group.

“You got to be open minded, I mean if there was no such thing as taxidermy, you’d be in a museum looking at photographs.

“You need to see the actual animal to learn from it,” she said.

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1 NEWS reporter Kate Nicol-Williams has some ideas. Source: 1 NEWS