November 7th, 2011

The foreigner and the natives

Blogger: Brazilian Unitec journalism student and Forest & Bird intern, Diego Mandarino.

I had barely just touched down in New Zealand and I was given the opportunity to meet and greet 20 of its most endangered species.

This is the first time that our endangered Blue Duck has been held in captivity. Photo: Rod Morris.

This is the first time that our endangered Blue Duck has been held in captivity. Photo: Rod Morris.

In fact, as I wandered around Auckland Zoo’s new enclosure – Te Wao Nui – I was unsure whether I was taking part in what is described as ‘extinction’ tourism, or whether I was peering into a more hopeful future.

The $16 million dollar area will be home to about 60 animal species, some of them rare and critically endangered like the Campbell Island teal.

The area is comprised of six habitat areas – coast, islands, wetlands, day forest, night (caves and forest) and high country – and contains a handful of threatened citizens in each.

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Lone falcon

Blogger: Campaign Manager for the karearea (NZ Falcon) & Co leader for the Maori Party, Pita Sharples.

In 1986, the Waitangi Tribunal heard the te reo Maori claim. Claimants argued that the language was a taonga which the Crown was obliged to protect under the Treaty’s second article, and it had failed to do so. They said that if endangered birds were worth saving, so was te reo Māori, the life force of mana Māori.

Our karearea, or NZ Falcon. Photo: Craig McKenzie

Our karearea, or NZ Falcon. Photo: Craig McKenzie

The bird I have selected then as the Bird of the Year is the Karearea – also known as the New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae) .

The karearea is one of New Zealand’s most spectacular birds – and it is endemic to this country. The World Conservation Union classifies the falcon as a near-threatened species. Like te reo rangatira, the karearea has become threatened due to declining populations of this treasure.

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