Rare And Threatened Species Put At Risk By Vandalism Of Zealandia’s Fence
A deliberately cut hole was discovered in the ZEALANDIA predator exclusion fence yesterday by a local community member.
The hole had been cut using what appears to be a power tool. Police have been notified.
“It is extremely upsetting and disappointing to see someone target the fence in this way. It protects countless rare and threatened species, including kiwi pukupuku, hihi/stitchbird, tīeke/saddleback, titipounamu/rifleman, tuatara and more.” says ZEALANDIA’s Chief Executive, Paul Atkins.
“The sanctuary has played a huge role in improving birdlife across the city, and the specially designed fence is critical for giving these species a safe space to establish.”
The hole, measuring about 15 cm high by 10 cm wide, is of a sufficient size to allow access for rats, mustelids or other predators of native New Zealand species, many of which are just starting their breeding season.
Dr Danielle Shanahan, the Director of ZEALANDIA’s Centre for People and Nature says, “At this point we are unable to pinpoint exactly when the damage was done. We do very frequent fence checks, so it was most likely over the weekend”.
ZEALANDIA is now mounting a precautionary incursion response in case any predatory mammals did enter following the damage. This includes setting trapping lines and cameras to identify intruders.
“The ZEALANDIA fence line is a popular walking track, and we are appealing to the Wellington public to report any vandalism they witness to the police. There is also a phone number to report damage at many locations along the fence line.” added Dr Shanahan.
ZEALANDIA is now looking at additional security measures that can be installed, such as CCTV to prevent future damage.