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Minister Congratulated On Raising Eckhoff’s Ideas

“Environment Minister Pete Hodgson is to be congratulated for raising in Parliament today my proposals to assist the protection of endangered native species,” ACT Conservation Spokesman Gerry Eckhoff said.

“I am very glad indeed the Minister has chosen to thrust my ideas into the public domain. In a speech last week I expressed my disgust that this Government supports the prohibition on the sale of our native animals and birds.

“There is a thriving trade in indigenous plants. Private individuals propagate and sell native plant species for profit. However, we seem to believe that the principle that applies to plants cannot apply to animals and birds. If we wish to ensure the survival of our native species, we should allow them to be bred and sold as we do with exotic fauna.

“The treasured kiwi, our national symbol, will according to the Conservation Minister, be extinct on the mainland in 20 years. The dogs and cats, which are wiping them out, will survive because they can be bred, owned and sold. Why cannot this icon be owned‚ to ensure its survival? Instead, by government decree, the predatory forces of nature and humankind will ensure its demise.

“No animal that has been bred in controlled circumstances – for example the sheep or the cow – has ever become extinct.

“We are expected to place our trust in the Department of Conservation when they are not able to guarantee the long term protection of our native species. I urge the Environment Minister, now that he has drawn public attention to it, to adopt my proposal to protect our national icon,” Gerry Eckhoff said.


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