Dunedin accelerates its commitment to Predator Free 2050
Predator Free Dunedin aims to establish the
city as a ‘living restoration laboratory’, linking research and
education with action, and connecting and supporting communities to
restore the health of the natural environment.
The initiative links up projects around Dunedin
where volunteers are actively involved in predator management. A
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between 19 organisations was
signed on 16 March.
Dunedin city -
aiming to be Predator-Free.
Conservation Minister Maggie Barry says
Predator Free Dunedin ‘is exactly the sort of collaboration that is
essential for New Zealand to be Predator Free by 2050. It will
create a haven for wildlife in the wider Dunedin area and brings
predator control into the city centre.’
She further added that ‘Momentum is growing for
the Government’s Predator Free 2050 goal to rid New Zealand of rats,
stoats and possums and I have no doubt Predator-Free Dunedin will
provide a strong model for other projects still to come.’1
Seven year search rewarded
Conservationists are excited after a confirmed
siting of Australia’s endangered night parrot in Western Australia.
Night parrots were presumed extinct for over a century until 2013
when a small population was rediscovered in Queensland, Australia.
Since then, conservationists have been working to protect the
elusive birds. The discovery was made by a group of four friends who
had been searching for seven years to find a population in Western
Australia. Photographs verified the first sighting of the species in
the region in over 100 years.
For fear of poachers, the team will not
disclose where they found the birds but researchers say it is clear
evidence that the species can and does live in Western Australia2.
Photo: Bruce Greatwich
More translocations planned for Bream Head in Northland
will see the relocation of whiteheads to Bream Head Scenic Reserve,
an intensively trapped area 45 km from Whangarei. The Bream Head
Conservation Trust manages the reserve and will build on the success
of North Island robin translocated in 2016.
has had to meet stringent criteria from the Department of
Conservation before the translocation could go ahead.
A decade of pest eradication is also allowing
some species to return naturally—occasional visitors, including
bellbird and kaka from the Hen and Chicken Islands, have now
re-established. Grey-faced petrels have attempted to breed, likely
thwarted by stoat predation. The reserve is also turning out to be a
stronghold for lizard species (nine in total). In 2013, a totally
new species was discovered by rangers in the reserve.
Much of the work is by volunteers, including
seed collection from the reserve, which after a couple of years in
the nursery, returns as trees.
Bream Head, about 70 km
north north-west of Aotea/Great Barrier, is managed by the Bream
Head Conservation Trust. After the successful introduction of North
Island Robins in 2016, the Trust is planning to introduce whiteheads
to the Scenic Reserve in April.
Climate change, not predators, drives albatross relocations
In Hawai’i, 15 black-footed albatross (Phoebastria
nigripes) chicks have been relocated from Midway Atoll to
O’ahu to protect the species from sea level rise.
Approximately 90% of the population breed on
the atoll and have faced decline due to feather and egg collection,
predation by invasive rodents, and fishing bycatch.
The species is classified as ‘Near Threatened’
by IUCN, with
predators thought to be a factor inhibiting re-colonisation at some
islands, known historically to have supported breeding populations.
The three-week-old chicks were relocated to
help safeguard the species, which faces a threat of flooding caused
by sea level rise that is forecast to destroy nesting habitat.
Moving chicks to O’ahu aims to establish a
stable population in a region that experiences less impact from sea
level rise. Climate change has already impacted the species by
washing away thousands of nests on low atolls in the north western
The chicks were
hand-fed for four to five months before becoming independent.
Researchers hope that the chicks will come back to O’ahu to breed on
higher ground and help establish a thriving population.
Partners on the
project include Pacific Rim Conservation, Papahānaumokuākea Marine
National Monument, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish
and Wildlife Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation3.
Black-footed albatross chick on
Midway Atoll. The species is at serious risk from sea level rise
threatening nest sites.
Photo: Eric VanderWrt/Pacific
Department of Conservation. 2017. Media Release. Ihttp://www.doc.govt.nz/news/media-releases/2017/predator-free-dunedin-mou-signed/
Conservation. 2017. Team of Friends Finds Night Parrot after 7-year
Conservation. 2017. Black-footed Albatross Move to O’ahu. https://www.islandconservation.org/black-footed-albatross-move-oahu/