Date: 10 June 2010 Source: Office of the Minister of Conservation
Whale sharks, katipo spiders and all giant weta will now be absolutely protected under changes to the Wildlife Act, Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson announced today.
They are among 12 previously unprotected species of invertebrate and a number of marine species, including manta ray, giant groper and corals, which have had their protection status upgraded.
"All native species are special and have evolved key functions in our unique biodiversity, whether they are weevils, weta or beetles they deserve an appropriate level of protection," Ms Wilkinson says.
"Giant groper, whale sharks and manta ray are all highly valued, particularly by divers, in New Zealand. The upgrade in their protection status, and that of corals, recognises how unique they are in our waters."
The changes to the Wildlife Act affect more than 50 species, including a number of introduced species that have had their protection levels reduced.
Permits will no longer be required to keep some common introduced species as pets, like spotted and turtle doves and ring-necked parakeet.
There will also be no need for permits to control some wildlife, such as wild chickens and muscovy ducks - both of which are farmed species but currently absolutely protected in the wild.
"I have been pragmatic about the changes given to some species and a reduction in protection will be the best way to manage some populations.
"For instance, the grey teal often flies with mallard ducks and is shot in error by hunters so I have dropped the penalty from a $100,000 fine to $5,000, which is the same as a fine for shooting game out of season."
The new changes will take effect on 8 July 2010.
A final decision is yet to be made on the level of protection for Canada geese.
Most species of wildlife (including mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians), native or introduced, are absolutely protected under the Wildlife Act 1953. This is consistent with the objective that wildlife should generally be protected. Where a different level of protection is required (e.g. to facilitate limited harvest or manage adverse effects of wildlife), a species can be listed on one of schedules 1 to 6 of the Act. This means that the species is no longer absolutely protected but has a lower level of protection. This allows a range of different management activities to occur depending on which schedule the species is listed on.
The Wildlife Act also provides protection to a small number of terrestrial or freshwater invertebrates and marine species. These species need to be listed on Schedules 7 or 7A of the Wildlife Act in order to be protected (if not listed they are not protected).
Visit beehive.govt.nz for:
- Summary of protection provided by different Wildlife Act schedules
- List of changes to protection status
+64 4 817 8266 or +64 21 243 8266