Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has issued a "call to action" for the nation to get behind efforts to protect New Zealand's threatened native plants and animals.
Minister Barry launched the Department of Conservation's draft Threatened Species Strategy at the Threatened Species Summit in Wellington this morning.
"Our unique plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth and help to define who we are as New Zealanders, adding immeasurable value to our culture, our identity and our landscapes," Minister Barry says.
"The draft strategy sets out a course to a safe, secure future for our native species by building on existing programmes and commitments, and focusing on partnerships with iwi, communities, landowners, philanthropists, local and regional councils and botanic gardens."
"We have built up an impressive armoury in the fight to save our native species, so I feel confident that if we all pull together we can achieve this. Predator Free 2050 has created a wave of enthusiasm around the country to achieve ambitious conservation goals, while the War on Weeds and Battle for our Birds are fundamental to expanding native species protection."
The success of DOC's work to date is showing through in a revised Bird Threat Classification publication the Minister has also released today.
"Four of our most threatened bird species: takahē, rowi/Okarito brown kiwi, Campbell Island snipe and Campbell Island teal have moved down from the highest threat class, Nationally Critical, to Nationally Vulnerable. It's the first time a kiwi species has been moved out of the highest threat class," Ms Barry says.
"The new assessment shows that in areas where there's conservation management, we are making good progress in protecting vulnerable bird species. Since the first assessment in 2012, the fortunes of 22 threatened bird species or taxa (29%) have improved," Ms Barry says.
A revised plant classification will be released in the next few months and
consultation on the draft Threatened Species Strategy is open until 31 July and the final strategy will be released in August.
The draft Threatened Species Strategy aims to safeguard New Zealand's vulnerable threatened species and set them on the path to recovery. To achieve strategy's vision and assess our progress, we plan to meet the following goals:
- Manage 500 species for protection by 2025 – a 40% increase on today – and 600 species for protection by 2030.
- Enhance the populations of 150 prioritised threatened and at risk species by 2025
- Integrate Te Ao Māori (the Māori world view) and mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) into species recovery programmes by 2025
- Support research, particularly through the National Science Challenges, that helps us to better understand data deficient species