News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Dangerous Departure For Godwits

17 March 2001


Dangerous Departure For Godwits (Or Hazardous Journeys For Godwits)


The godwits or kuaka of Parengarenga Harbour are about to enter the last and very treacherous phase of their summer holiday in New Zealand. Over a million arctic migratory birds are shot for food each year as they travel via the Australasian - East Asia flyway.

Here these remarkable birds gather in a giant flock, to carry out their final preparations before embarking on their 11,000 km flight to their breeding grounds in Siberia.

This is also a time when the birds are most vulnerable. The large flocks and the fact that they have built up a lot of body-fat to see them through their long journey to Siberia, make them an easy and sought after target for poachers.. According to Department of Conservation Te Paki Field Centre Supervisor Simon Job, shootings occur every year. He said that many of these protected birds are killed by indiscriminate shootings with shot guns, while many others are injured and left to die a slow painful death. This includes non target species such as the endangered New Zealand dotterel and the rare variable oystercatcher.

Bar Tailed Godwits or kuaka are a small bird of about 40 cm high, which are identified by their extraordinarily long upturned bill. They arrive in New Zealand in late September and inhabit mudflats and estuaries throughout the country, with a larger concentration in our northern harbours. They gather again at Parengarenga in late March to await the annual change of winds, which is taking them on their journey of many thousands of kilometres back to Siberia.

Kuaka are an absolutely protected species which is coming under significant threat from intensive poaching. Currently there is a world wide movement to reduce the effects of this illegal harvest. In New Zealand under the recently amended Wildlife Act 1953, anyone caught hunting or killing kuaka now face a maximum fine of up to $100,000 plus a further $5000 for each bird killed or up to six months of imprisonment.

Mr Job said “Kaumatua and kuia are telling of times, when kuaka were so plentyful that they darkened the sky with black clouds of birds taking flight. We don’t see this any more today. The birds have come under pressure here as well as overseas from loss of habitat, predation and poaching. Their numbers are steadily declining.”

He said kuaka were a taonga in need of help and he appealed to the community to keep an eye out for the little birds. He asked “If people see or hear shooting or suspect illegal poaching activities they can call the free Hotline on 0800 58 58 72”

According to Mr Job there were international efforts in progress to protect the birds not only in their respective winter and summer homes, but also in their stop-over places like Japan, Phillipines, Thailand and Malaysia. He would also like to see local people coming together to share thoughts on how the kuaka can be helped.


For more information please contact Angelika Cawte on (09) 408 6014 after hours (09) 408 2142

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Gordon Campbell: Best New Music Of 2017

Any ‘best of list’ has to be an exercise in wishful thinking, given the splintering of everyone’s listening habits... But maybe… it could be time for the re-discovery of the lost art of listening to an entire album, all the way through. Just putting that idea out there. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Ten x Ten - One Hundred of Te Papa's Best-Loved Art Works

An idiosyncratic selection by ten art curators, each of whom have chosen ten of their favourite works. Handsomely illustrated, their choices are accompanied by full-page colour prints and brief descriptions of the work, explaining in straightforward and approachable language why it is of historical, cultural, or personal significance. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Portacom City - Reporting On Canterbury Earthquakes

In Portacom City Paul Gorman describes his own deeply personal story of working as a journalist during the quakes, while also speaking more broadly about the challenges that confront reporters at times of crisis. More>>

Scoop Review of Books: Christopher Pugsley’s The Camera in the Crowd - Filming in New Zealand Peace and War 1895-1920

Pugsley brings to life 25 exhilarating years of film making and picture screening in a sumptuously illustrated hardback published by Oratia that tells the story through surviving footage unearthed from the national film archives. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland