Last week Dr. Jan Wright released her penultimate report as Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. Titled “Taonga of an island nation”. It has been widely supported and will hopefully help focus our attention to save the species that desperately need our help.
We will be delving into the report in more detail in the coming weeks but in the meantime here are the key things you need to know about it:
Our birds are in serious trouble
The key take away from this report is that our native birds are in a desperate situation and need our help to protect them from predators – 4 out of 5 native birds are in trouble with 1/3 of those in serious trouble. We need to act now.
Predators are the key issue
Predators are having a devastating effect on our birds. While habitat and genetic diversity are important, reducing predators would significantly help all our species.
And predators aren’t only rats, stoats and possums. Feral cats have a devastating impact on our wildlife, and we need ways to control them. Mice, goats, wasps also impact the habitat that these birds need to thrive.
Need to make best use of current technology
There is a lot of talk about a new technology (specifically gene technology) being the silver bullet in achieving a predator free New Zealand. But as Dr. Wright states there is no point building the high tech hospital if your patient dies in the meantime. We need to maximise the effectiveness of current solutions to reduce the impact of predators. So when a new technology is found there is something still to save.
Predator Free 2050 needs a plan
Whilst the vision has been useful in uniting and focusing people Dr Wright recommends that we come up with a plan on how we are going to achieve this audacious goal – and fast.
Community groups need better support
Dr Wright recognises that community conservation groups have a key role to play in protecting our native species. She recommends better more coordinated support and funding for groups. She suggests that projects that have already made significant conservation gains should be prioritised for funding to ensure the investment and benefits are not lost.
Commissioner Wright also suggests establishing regional hubs to help relieve groups from some of the paperwork burden and better connect groups at a regional level.
This list is by no means exhaustive. The report is comprehensive and also covers new sources of funding, potential genetic technologies and other issues facing our precious native species. We will explore all these issues and more in the coming weeks.