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World-first sanctuary celebrates Environment Day

World-first wildlife sanctuary celebrates World Environment Day

To celebrate Wellington hosting this year’s World Environment Day the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner, will be given a special tour of the capital’s groundbreaking conservation project - Karori Sanctuary - by its founder Jim Lynch.

During the visit, Mr Steiner (who also toured the world-first wildlife sanctuary on his last visit to Wellington), will meet some of the volunteers who have been helping out at the Sanctuary since it was established in 1995. The Sanctuary is supported by over 430 volunteers, making it one of the largest volunteer organisations of its kind in New Zealand.

From humble beginnings as a community conservation project initiated by a band of volunteers with big dreams, the Sanctuary has become a world-renowned benchmark in ecological restoration, and one of the capital’s most popular visitor attractions. Its success in creating a safe haven almost completely free of mammals into which some of New Zealand’s most endangered animal species have been released has inspired many other conservation groups, both locally and worldwide. Yet without the support of so many volunteers, the Sanctuary would struggle to survive.

Mr Steiner will then plant a northern rata tree, contributing to the Sanctuary’s 500-year restoration plan. The tree, which will take at least 500 years to reach full maturity, is symbolic of the Sanctuary’s slow recovery.


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