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Our special bird fauna – a reminder of what we have on Aotea
A recent Department of Conservation newsletter reported on “rare native
bird found at West Auckland wetland”.
This bird was discovered at a West Auckland wetland for the first time.
The small, secretive ground-living bird, was discovered in a coastal
wetland in the upper Waitemata Harbour.
The ‘at risk-declining’ bird was captured on video footage from a camera
trap after suspicions that it could be found in the area. Populations
of this bird declined in the 1930s in the Auckland region (and
elsewhere) mostly due to habitat destruction like wetland drainage,
reclamation and predation from introduced pests.
Can you guess which bird it is? Yes, it’s the banded rail/moho pereru (Gallirallus
philippensis) – a common sight on Aotea/Great Barrier Island!
Auckland Pestival 2017
Auckland Pestival 2017 was organised by Auckland Council, in
collaboration with Predator Free New Zealand and the Department of
Conservation. The aim of the Pestival was to showcase current community
led-conservation and technology trends, and in doing so provide feedback
on how Council and the department can support and expand community
Presentations provided information and insights to inspire and motivate.
Auckland Council announced its programme to make Auckland pest-free by
2050 - by expanding its own action and supporting community and
landowner pest eradication and restoration activities. There was a focus
on islands and peninsulas, and existing sanctuaries, but also in
creating an increasing number of pest-free corridors across the Auckland
Presentations from Pestival are available here:
Draft Threatened Species Strategy
The draft Threatened Species Strategy was published by the Department of
Conservation in May 2017, with submissions closing in July. The strategy
sets out the plan to halt the decline in threatened species and restore
them to healthy populations. Building on existing commitments and
programmes, the strategy sets out steps to restore the listed species
that are already at risk of extinction, and to prevent others from
The strategy establishes goals for increasing the number of threatened
species the department is working on, and prioritises some threatened
and at risk species1 for recovery by 2025.
Of the 150 species listed as a priority, nine occur on Aotea Great
Barrier, which is a bigger percentage (about 6%) than any area of
equivalent size in the country. In other words, the island has 6% of the
most threatened 150 species, but is only 0.1% of the total area of NZ.
Species found on Aotea in the 150 ‘priority threatened and at risk’ list
include the bittern , wrybill, kaka, and bar-tailed godwit. The island
has eight species in the ‘Nationally vulnerable’, category and seven in
the ‘declining’ category.
Barrier Island has 27 species of plant in the 'nationally critical to
relict’ categories, and 29 'naturally rare' plant species. Other species
on the list include the longfin eel, and shortjaw kokapu. Duvaucel’s
gecko and long-tailed bats, also found on the island, feature in the
draft strategy. It’s unclear when the final strategy will be released.
Bittern are globally endangered and listed as nationally critical in New
Zealand, where the population is less than 1,000. Photo: DOC
Environmental News Issue 38