Monorail decision could further endanger Bird of the Year
30 October 2013 – Wellington
Forest & Bird media release for immediate use
Fiordland monorail decision could further endanger Bird of the Year
Forest & Bird says the newly-crowned Bird of the Year – the mohua - will only become more endangered if a monorail and parallel service road is built through one of its remaining habitats in Fiordland.
The mohua was voted Bird of the Year in Forest & Bird’s annual poll only yesterday.
Today, Conservation Minister Nick Smith released advice from the Department of Conservation that says the project could proceed.
Nick Smith says he will make his final decision before the end of the year.
In a statement today, the minister acknowledged that a 29 kilometre long and six metre wide swathe would be cut through the publically-owned Snowden Forest/ Te Waihipounamu World Heritage Area, if the project went ahead.
Forest & Bird Otago/Southland Field Officer Sue Maturin says that as well as posing a risk to the mohua, the project would pose an even greater threat to endangered long tailed bats.
She also points out that the Hearing Commissioner suggests in his report that the minister needs to get independent advice on the proposal.
“If Nick Smith does seek this new information on the potential impacts on native birds and bats, we are sure he will make the only possible decision - which is to decline the application,” Sue Maturin says.
“Just because the Snowden Forest is not a national park, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have high natural values. Indeed, the Forest was included in Te Waihipounamu World Heritage Area on the strength of these values,” Sue Maturin says.