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WWF applauds response to pests, calls for funds injection

WWF applauds response to pest plague, but calls for funds injection

Global conservation organisation WWF today congratulated the New Zealand Government on taking appropriate urgent action to address the impending boom in rat and stoat numbers but added that DOC needs extra funding to keep the pests at bay.

“We welcome the measures to combat the coming explosion in predator numbers caused by peak flowering of beech forest this summer - the action is vital to protect our native animals and ensure that years worth of gains by community conservation groups are not reversed”, said Lee Barry, Head of NZ Conservation Projects.

“But DOC needs to be allocated new money to avert this conservation crisis, not required to reshuffle it’s meagre resources.”

The Government announced yesterday a “Battle of the Birds” programme to increase the pest control operations to deal with boom in predator numbers. The new programme will cost $21 million but will be funded out of DOC existing budget, which has been significantly cut over the last 4 years.

“DOC funding is already stretched to breaking point - yet the Government announced on Tuesdaythey have $1 billion of new money to spend this year – why not provide just a little of this to protect our precious kiwi, whio and other species with are under attack?

WWF has funded over 500 community conservation groups over the past 14 years to restore habitat, protect species and control pests across New Zealand.

“To see the critical work of these hard working volunteer groups undermined by an influx of pests is unthinkable. Increased aerial application of 1080, as recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment is the only way to tackle this massive threat – not only this year, but every year - and not undo countless thousands of hours of ground work,” said Ms Barry.

“The Government needs to carefully asses how it invests in New Zealand’s future. Where will our tourism, our film and our agriculture industries be without the rich and unique environment which supports them?

ENDS

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