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Pukaha Mount Bruce wins international award

5 April 2006

Pukaha Mount Bruce wins international award


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Pukaha Mount Bruce biodiversity unit programme manager Geoff Underwood with the ARAZPA award for In Situ Conservation: Photo: Sandra Burles/DOC

Strong community support and dedication from Department of Conservation staff are behind the conservation achievements that have won international recognition for Pukaha Mount Bruce.

The Wairarapa-based captive breeding facility and forest restoration project is sharing with Auckland Zoo the 2006 international Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria (ARAZPA) award for In Situ Conservation – awarded last week for exceptional effort towards habitat preservation, species restoration, and support of biodiversity in the wild.

Responsible for the breeding and husbandry of a range of endangered New Zealand species for release to the wild as part of national recovery programmes, the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre has played a key role in the survival of some of New Zealand's most threatened wildlife including Campbell Island teal, shore plover, stitchbird, kokako and saddleback.

It has also embarked on a forest restoration programme which has enabled, for the first time in New Zealand's history, native fauna to be successfully re-established on the mainland in the wild, at a site from where they had become extinct.

DOC Wairarapa area manager Derrick Field, said the award recognised the commitment from both the community and DOC staff to saving endangered wildlife, and to returning the dawn chorus to the primeval 942 hectare Pukaha Mount Bruce forest, one of the last remnants of the once magnificent 70 mile bush, which stretched from Masterton to Norsewood.

“Local authorities, iwi, businesses, schools, neighbouring landowners and the local community have all played a large part in securing the viability of the Pukaha Restoration Project. Their efforts are paying off as we see populations of kaka, kiwi and kokako expanding in the wild.

“And captive breeding staff have worked with DOC scientists in other parts of the country to raise endangered species at Pukaha and return them to the wild. Thanks to their efforts we have now returned Campbell Island teal home to a pest free haven and shore plover to a number of predator-free locations. Both species have been brought back from the brink of extinction.”

Separately, Auckland Zoo was recognised for its work with the Campbell Island Teal. Over a five year period Auckland Zoo veterinary staff, in collaboration with DOC, identified, evaluated and minimised disease threats and provided primary health care to teal during two shipments to the Sub-Antarctic.

Over 100 healthy teal were transported to the island and released during 2004 and 2005. Evidence of teal breeding was observed on Campbell Island in 2005 – the first time in 180 years.

ENDS


Australasian Regional Association of Zoological Parks and Aquaria website: www.arazpa.org.au

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