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

Two Dead, One Injured: Suspect Charged After Ashburton Shooting

Russell John Tully has appeared in Christchurch District Court. Tully has been remanded in custody on charges of murder of Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland and attempted murder of Lindy Curtis.

The victim’s families and the victim have requested that their privacy be respected and will not be making a statement at this time.

Police have formed a picture of what has occurred yesterday and are appealing for further information and sightings .... More

 

Parliament Today:

John Key Press Conference: Ashburton Shootings, Judith Collins Inquiry

Prime Minister John Key has delayed the release of Nationals’ fiscal policy in light of this morning’s shooting at a Work and Income office in Ashburton... Key also answered questions about Judith Collins, and confirmed that independent inquiry will be held with regard to allegations made against Collins. More>>

ALSO:

Internet MANA: Georgina Beyer Rocks The Waka

“There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority of MANA members and supporters around the country” states MANA Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Update: Inquiry Into Release Of NZSIS Information

The Inquiry would be conducted in private and individuals would appear before her separately over a period of more than a week. She does not intend to name those summoned to give evidence until her report is published. “I can confirm that all persons summoned will be required to appear under oath...” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On John Key’s ‘Blame It On Judith’ Strategy

Right now, Prime Minister John Key seems intent on limiting the scope of any inquiry into his government’s dealings with Cameron Slater. The declared aim is to make that inquiry solely about Judith Collins’ behavior with respect to the Serious Fraud Office. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Council Lawyers' Statement: Supreme Court Decision On Maori Water Rights

“…the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead… the Supreme Court has questioned whether the Crown owns the River at all.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Winston Peters' Latest Bout Of Immigrant Bashing

It is only one poll, but rather than cannibalising each other's vote, Colin Craig and Winston Peters do seem to be managing to find the room to co-exist... Few are questioning how Peters got to this happy place, and what it says about the mood of the electorate. More>>

ALSO:

More Immigration News: First People Trafficking Charges

The first people trafficking charges in New Zealand have been brought by Immigration New Zealand (INZ)... The defendants have been charged under the Crimes Act 1961 for arranging by deception the entry of 18 Indian nationals into New Zealand. More>>

Collins 'Misinterprets Media Reports': "Too Compromised To Remain Justice Minister"

Bizarre claims by Judith Collins this morning that she had been cleared of inappropriate behaviour by the Privacy Commissioner demonstrates she is too compromised to remain Justice Minister, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news