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Projects Cut To Pay For Project Ark

May 26, 2004 - Wellington

Over 50 conservation projects cut to pay for Project Ark

Forest and Bird today released a list of 55 projects worth $910,000 that have been cut to pay for Project Ark, a project to protect threatened species in pest plague years. Forest and Bird obtained the list from the Department of Conservation under the Official Information Act this afternoon.

Projects that have been cut include work to protect yellow-eyed penguins, marine mammals and blue duck (who).

"While, these projects have been cut to pay for Project Ark, Forest and Bird hopes that tomorrow's Budget will reveal that they will get a reprieve and benefit from the record government surplus," said Forest and Bird Conservation Manager Kevin Hackwell.

"Overall $368,000 has been cut from weed control programmes, $258,000 has been cut from wild animal control and threatened species are missing out on $194,000 worth of protection. A further $100,000 has been taken from the development of the Natural Heritage Management System," he said.

Projects not funded include:

Work to protect endangered marine mammals $8,000
Yellow eyed penguin recovery in Otago $5,000
Blue duck protection in Fiordland $5,000
Integrated pest control in Northland $60,000
Possum control in Whanganui National Park $25,000
Work to protect endangered land snails $27,000
Argentine ant control in Canterbury $20,000

"The cuts have been across all regions - in most parts of the country there is vital conservation work being cut to pay for efforts to protect other endangered species from this year's predicted pest plague this year. Cuts to many of these projects mean that problems will get worse," he said

"These are not large sums for the Government to pay. We will be looking at tomorrow's Budget very carefully to see whether the Government has been prepared to front up for conservation," he said.

ENDS


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