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Wildlife protection review long overdue

31 July 2006 - Wellington

Wildlife protection review long overdue

Forest & Bird today welcomed an announcement that the Government will review legal protection for animal species under the Wildlife Act.

The Department of Conservation today issued a discussion paper on possible changes to the schedules of the Wildlife Act 1953, which provide legal protection for animal species.

Forest & Bird Advocacy Manager Kevin Hackwell says Forest & Bird is pleased the Government is moving to review the Wildlife Act schedules, something Forest & Bird has advocated for some years.

“The schedules have not been reviewed for well over a decade and changes to them have been piecemeal for some time. We are pleased to see the government finally taking action.”

Kevin Hackwell says there are currently whole categories of native species which are known to be threatened, but aren’t on the list of protected species. Forest & Bird is particularly pleased to see that many invertebrate species could potentially gain protection under the act for the first time.

The discussion paper identifies a number of species, including invertebrates and threatened marine species such as whale sharks (the world’s biggest shark, at up to 14 metres long) and rays, and Forest & Bird will strongly support this protection.

Forest & Bird has long sought a review of the status of some game bird species, Kevin Hackwell says.

Although grey duck (parea) is listed by the Department of Conservation as “in serious decline” in New Zealand, it is currently listed on the schedule of game birds that can be legally hunted.

Forest & Bird will also be asking whether some abundant introduced birds on the game schedule which are protected outside the hunting season, such as Canada goose and mallard, need to be protected at all.

ENDS

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