Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


New Zealanders Only People Who Can Save Endangered Birds

New Zealanders Only People Who Can Save Highly Endangered Birds

The devastating decline of the unique birds that breed in the South Island’s braided rivers can only be prevented by human intervention, a Braided River Aid (BRaid) conference was told in Lincoln today.

Christchurch-based independent ecologist John Dowding told the gathering that braided shingle rivers were rare on a global basis with New Zealand an international hotspot for this type of environment and Canterbury’s rivers representing the bulk of this type of ecosystem.

He said the fate of specialist braided river birds such as the black-billed gull, black stilt, wrybill and black-fronted tern was “desperate” with the decline in some of these species precipitous. “For example, the black-billed gull is now regarded as the most endangered gull in the world and is declining at rates equivalent to about 75% over 30 years” he said. “That’s about 11 less black-billed gulls every day over the last six years alone.”

“What’s important to note,” Dowding said, “is that these birds are endemic. That means they are only found in New Zealand. We are the only people in the world who are directly responsible for preventing their extinction. Many of the threats these unique birds are facing are human induced and it is humans who must find the answers.”

“Introduced mammalian pests (feral cats, stoats, hedgehogs, possums, ferrets, rats) are a major threat,” Dowding said, “but so is introduced weed invasion, human disturbance and water extraction.”

Dowding said that water use in particular will become a focus of conflict between the needs of the braided river species and the needs of human development. He said the clamour for improved access to water was loud, well funded and effective; the cause to limit water extraction to protect the braided river environment and its birds, was not.

“Education and raising public awareness must be a priority,” he said, “and we have to get a lot better at it. The powerful decision makers need to hear that people are concerned about their unique flora and fauna and do not want their rivers, and the animals that depend on them, to die.”

Dowding said education, too, was crucial. “My own son has just come out of school having studied biology and not once was he taught words like ‘threatened’ or ‘biodiversity.’ We have to invest in improving our young people’s knowledge and appreciation of the rare and precious natural resource we have on our own doorstep here in Canterbury.”

The BRaid workshop at Lincoln attracted some 100 environmental professionals, researchers and members of community river-care groups who discussed how best to arrest the decline in the braided river populations, not just birds but also rare plants, reptiles and insects.

The challenge was especially relevant to Cantabrians who lived in the heartland of New Zealand’s braided river systems, said BRaid chairman Nick Ledgard.

“Very few native ecosystems are still intact on the Canterbury plains” Ledgard said. “Braided rivers are one of them, and the only living remnant of these unique environments that most people will ever see is the birds. It is amazing how they have managed to survive over the last few decades in the face of reduced river flows and invasion by introduced weeds, predators and people. However their future is very uncertain.” BRaid was formed in 2007 to bring together those concerned about the future of the birds.

“The workshop unearthed the latest information on the status of the birds” says BRaid manager and workshop organiser, Jane Demeter. “We had thirteen speakers addressing a wide range of subjects to help us influence, improve and implement improved braised river management strategies.”

While the black-billed gull is the most endangered of the braided specialists, Demeter said the icon was the wrybill, a bird Cantabrians should be celebrating a unique relationship with. “It always surprises me how so few people know of this unique species. It is the only bird in the world with a bill that bends sideways, and it breeds almost exclusively in Canterbury’s braided rivers.”

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

'Tea Break Bill' Passes: Gordon Campbell On Bad Labour Laws And Poor Safety

By co-incidence, one of the prime dangers of the government’s new employment relations law has been underlined by the release of the death and injury statistics among workers at New Zealand ports. These are highly profitable enterprises for the port owners.

The Port of Tauranga for instance, is expecting its current full-year profit to be between $78 million and $83 million and other ports are enjoying similar boom times – but they are also highly dangerous places for the people who work on or around the port premises. At the Port of Tauranga, there have been 26 serious accidents since 2011, and two deaths. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

No Charges: Outcome Of Operation Clover Investigation

Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls in the Waitemata Police district and wider Auckland area... More>>

ALSO:

UNICEF Report: NZ Cautioned On "Stagnating" Child Poverty

An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession. More>>

ALSO:

Funding Report: Two Pathways For Transport In Auckland

Commissioned by Auckland Council, the group was asked to investigate two possible pathways for raising $300 million per year ($12 billion over 30 years) to pay for the improvements needed to help fix Auckland’s transport system. More>>

ALSO:

Pay Equity: Equal Pay Win In Court Of Appeal

CTU: The Court of Appeal has made a historic decision paving the way for a substantial equal pay claim for aged care workers. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Finishing Line, And Amazon’s Woes

If the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal wasn’t such a serious matter, this would be pretty funny… More>>

ALSO:

TV3 Video: Three Die On Roads Over Labour Weekend

The official holiday period ended at 6am Tuesday, with three deaths on the roads during the Labour Day weekend. More>>

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news