Topic: Environment

Report reveals NZ native birds in a desperate situation

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

 A new report released today says New Zealand's wild birds are in a desperate situation and the country must act quickly to find a solution. The report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment aims to shine a light on New Zealand's native birds.

This report confirms just how dire the situation is with our native birdlife.

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright says, “Despite the efforts of many, most of our native birds are in trouble. A third are in danger of becoming extinct. This includes the Kea – the only alpine parrot in the world. Another is the wrybill – the only bird in the world with a beak that curves to the side. And another is the Whio – a duck that paddles through rough water like a white water kayaker.”

According to the report, a third of NZ's native birds are in danger of becoming extinct. This includes the kea, the wrybill and the whio. The commissioner says a plan of action is urgently needed.

“We need sustained control of predators over more large areas so that bigger populations of birds can thrive. Small isolated bird populations can become inbred. We must not let our birds drift to the shallow end of the gene pool.”

The report says that of our 168 native bird species, just 20% are doing OK, 48% are in some trouble and 32% are in serious trouble. Many birds are in small isolated populations on offshore islands and mainland sanctuaries and are at risk of inbreeding.

“My staff and I did travel out to other parts of the country and visit a number of community groups and iwi, and I myself went on a trip to Northland and spent a day at Rāwhiti Marae which was really great so yes we've done our best.”

Dr Wright says our birds need help not only in national parks, but also on farms and along rivers, coasts and cities. The Parliamentary Commissioner says this is a battle for all New Zealanders.