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


New endangered species at risk from coal mining

New endangered species at risk from coal mining

A new species of endangered moth is living on conservation land slated for an open-cast coal mine.

The Avatar moth lives on the Denniston Plateau and is so threatened by coal mining related habitat destruction it has been classified as nationally critical.

Photos of the Avatar moth can be found here.

“It’s so urgent the Government fulfils its promise to end mining on conservation land,” says Debs Martin, Forest & Bird top of the south Regional Manager.

A single specimen of the moth was discovered by entomologist Brian Patrick during a Forest & Bird bioblitz in 2012. Since then, it has been found in wetlands at nearby Mt Rochfort but is still extremely localised.

Coal mining company Bathurst Resources is planning to mine the Avatar moth’s habitat in the area known as Whareatea West.

The company is planning for mines in the Whareatea West mining permit to follow its Escarpment Mine. The Escarpment opencast pit was begun in 2014, but was abandoned two years later in part because of falling coal prices.

However, in 2017 Bathurst partnered with Talley’s group to buy state coal miner Solid Energy, which ran the nearby Stockton Mine. Bathurst plans to combine its assets to allow widespread opencast mining right across the Stockton and Denniston plateaux by building an enormous mining haul road between the two areas.

Last year, Bathurst carried out new drilling on Denniston and this year the company restarted talks on mining the area with the West Coast Regional Council.

“As stewardship land, the Denniston Plateau has the lowest possible legal protection of all conservation land, but all the science points to it being an incredibly ecologically important area,” says Debs Martin.

“This highly specialised landscape would be irreversibly damaged by more mining,

“It is home to many nationally endangered birds and an incredible range of very unique and isolated animals. That is why we’re still finding and describing new species like the Avatar moth.

“To destroy it for a coal mine would be an absolute tragedy.”

The Avatar moth is one of the 86 colourful dayflying moths in the family Geometridae. After its discovery, Forest & Bird ran a public competition to name the new species.

The winner was “Avatar”, named after the title of the movie by James Cameron about a human mining company destroying endemic species on an alien moon.

In May 2019, Arctesthes avatar was scientifically described for the first time in the scientific journal Alpine Entomology.

A recent Forest & Bird magazine article about the moth and the scientific paper are both available here.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Madrid Climate Talks: Decade Ending 2019 Likely To Be Hottest On Record

Exceptional global heat driven by greenhouse gas emissions mean this decade will most likely go down as the warmest on record, according to the World Meteorological Organization...

The agency also finds that 2019 is on track to be the second or third warmest year in history, with the global average temperature during January through October, roughly 1.1 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial era.

“If we do not take urgent climate action now, then we are heading for a temperature increase of more than 3°C by the end of the century, with ever more harmful impacts on human wellbeing.” More>>


NZ First Conflicts Of Interest: New Details Around Timeline

New information has emerged showing it was the New Zealand First chief of staff who identified potential conflicts of interest between a forestry company and two senior government ministers, sparking a series of declarations. More>>



Five New Cancer Meds In Six Months: Pharmac Funds More Cancer Medicines, Faster Assessment

PHARMAC has confirmed that two new medicines – olaparib for ovarian cancer and fulvestrant for breast cancer – have been approved for funding... Rituximab and bortezomib, which are already funded, have also been approved for widened access following successful commercial proposals from new suppliers. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Stoking Fears About Cannabis Law Reform

It was always going to be hard to have a rational debate on cannabis reform. Far easier for politicians to win votes by stoking alarm... More>>


Tūhoronuku Mandate Recognition Ends: "New Opportunity" For Ngāpuhi Treaty Negotiations

The Crown is providing an opportunity for the hapu of Ngāpuhi to rebuild its framework from the ground up for collective negotiations to deal with its historical Treaty claims... More>>


Pike River: Next Phase Of Recovery Underway

“Fresh air will be pumped into the Pike River Mine drift this week, following acceptance of the plan for re-entry beyond the 170m barrier by New Zealand’s independent health and safety regulator WorkSafe." More>>


Peters Stoic: Russia On Afghan Firing Range Deaths

The foreign minister won't be calling in the Russian ambassador concerning comments made about New Zealand soldiers in Afghanistan. In a media briefing late last month, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said New Zealand must investigate crimes against civilians. More>>


Christchurch Call: Online Crisis Response Workshop In Wellington

Governments and tech companies are holding a two-day workshop, hosted by YouTube/Google in Wellington, to test the Christchurch Call Shared Crisis Response Protocol. More>>





InfoPages News Channels