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Land Rover brings back birdsong

29 October 2008

Land Rover brings back birdsong

While many New Zealand companies are planting trees and stepping up recycling initiatives in the name of being Green, Land Rover is slaughtering stoats.

Land Rover has taken a very practical approach to doing something positive for the environment.

Through ‘Project Tongariro’ every new Land Rover sold helps protect another hectare of Tongariro National Park – New Zealand’s only dual World Heritage Site.

Land Rover New Zealand’s Managing Director, Wallis Dumper says that in reality this means pest eradication, species protection, replanting and education projects.

“We wanted to do something that really counted and we were lucky enough to come into contact with the good works of Tongariro Natural History Society and its volunteers. While this may not be the most glamorous of projects to be undertaken it is making a difference to one of the country’s – and the world’s – very special places.”

Land Rover partnered with the Tongariro Natural History Society in 2007 to provide the funds for these activities to be undertaken as well as specific local projects. The company also supplies a Land Rover Freelander 2 and fuel to assist the Society.

One year on 500 hectares of forests have been protected with many hundreds of stoats, weasels, ferrets and rats being eradicated, bringing back birds to the area. Also, to regenerate the National Park, around 1000 tussocks and 5000 other natives trees and bushes have been planted.

As Wallis Dumper says, “it will take a while to get through those 80,000 acres and when we do, we’ll start from the beginning again.”

Sara Gibb, director of Tongariro Natural History Society, said that the contribution from Land Rover of cash and a car has been invaluable.

“We basically wouldn’t be operating without their help. As well as protecting Kiwi nesting grounds and endangered birds such as Kaka, Whio and the North Island Robin we have been able to save many threatened plant species that most people wouldn’t even be aware of.

“One particular project we are particularly proud of is the Lake Rotopounamu Restoration which has seen around 500 bait stations put out over 300ha which resulted in masses of stoats, rats and mice being killed. The outcomes have been amazing with a huge increase in birdsong and significant increases to the fantail, robin, tomtits and kereru populations,” said Ms Gibb.

“Land Rover has been helping discover New Zealand since 1948 and has a long relationship with Tongariro, having supplied vehicles from 1963 to approximately 1984 to enable the Rangers to access parts of the park in arduous 4WD conditions. We want to continue that relationship for many years to come but do so well aware of our eco-aware society of today,” concluded Mr Dumper.


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