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Native animals need more help

3 November 2004 - Wellington

DOC reveals to Parliament native animals need more help

Most of New Zealand's 800 threatened species are not getting the attention they need to halt their decline, the Department of Conservation's Annual Report to Parliament reveals.

According to the report being considered by Parliament's Local Government and Environment Committee this week, 92 percent of threatened species do not get enough help with a huge 77 percent having no targeted programme aimed at preventing their extinction.

"This report makes grim reading. It confirms that most threatened species may be headed for extinction but are not getting the help that they need," said Forest and Bird's Biosecurity Awareness Officer Geoff Keey.

"Amongst those with no targeted programmes are 'nationally critical' lizards, sea birds, orchids, southern elephant seal, and even an octopus. These are considered to be amongst the most at risk species in New Zealand," he said.

"There are also 'endangered' animals such as southern right whale, land snails, weka, falcon and the erect crested penguin," he said.

"A range of other animals are in either serious or gradual decline including penguins, kiwi and albatross," he said

"Over time these species will reach the brink of extinction unless work is done to protect them. We will be faced with more crises like the recent near-extinction of orange fronted parakeets," he said.

"It's clear from these figures that New Zealand is a long way from meeting the Biodiversity Strategy goal of halting the decline in our native plants, animals and ecosystems. We won't halt the decline of our native plants and animals while most of our threatened species are left defenceless," he said.

Key findings in the Department of Conservation's Annual Report to Parliament

* There are approximately 800 native species listed as acutely and chronically threatened.

* 2% have no work programmes targeted specifically at their recovery but are found on offshore islands or equivalent situations and are stable or recovering. Examples include Forbes parakeet on Mangere Island and Brothers tuatara on North Brother, Titi and Matiu/Somes Islands.

„h 2% have no work programmes targeted specifically at their recovery because they are considered naturally rare and are stable. Examples include orca (killer whales) and some alpine plants.

* 4% are species with very restricted ranges where targeted work benefits all or most of the individuals of that species and the species is stable or recovering as a result of the work. Examples include kakapo and takahe.

* 12% had work carried out in 2002/03, which helped some populations, but other populations are in decline. For some of these species, the trend is for overall decline. Examples include whio/blue duck, mohua/yellowhead, North Island kokako and flax snails.

* 3% had work programmes that were unsuccessful.

* 77% have no work programmes targeted specifically at their recovery and are thought to be in decline. This includes erect crested penguins, southern crested grebe and a range of plants and invertebrates.

The Department of Conservation has released a spreadsheet of the information used to provide these summaries under the Official Information Act to Forest and Bird. We can provide a copy on request, although it is a sizeable document.

ENDS


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