Date: 12 October 2012
The Department of Conservation (DOC) says a new international study is a wake up call for New Zealanders about the scale of the global conservation challenge ahead.
The study, published in the International Science Journal today, estimates US$4 billion dollars is needed to fund programmes to reduce the extinction risk to threatened species around the world. And a further US$76 billion is required to effectively manage sites of global conservation significance.
DOC’s Deputy Director-General, Science and Technical, Kevin O’Connor, says the study highlights the scale of the effort needed to protect threatened species and our natural environment.
“This study underlines the need for DOC to work more closely with private landowners, community groups, local authorities, businesses and iwi to meet the biodiversity challenge New Zealand faces.”
Mr O’Connor says DOC currently works with just over a hundred highly threatened native species but there are about 500 more New Zealand species that also require urgent attention.
He says DOC is achieving good results with the species it focuses on and it plans to more than double the number of threatened species it is working with over the next four years.
“But that increased workload will still leave about 300 native species at risk and we will need new conservation partners if New Zealand is to bridge this gap.
“New Zealanders are starting to realise that we need to invest in our environment and ecosystems to maintain the healthy ecosystems and clean water that our native species – and the primary produce and tourism industries that underpin our economy – depend on.
Kevin O’Connor says that is why DOC is actively focusing on finding new conservation partners in its plan to double the overall environmental work underway.
“The numbers sound daunting but the job can be done. We should remember that New Zealanders spend around $1 billion every year on soft drinks – it would take roughly about a fifth of that to put work programmes in place for all our most threatened native species.”
Rory Newsam, DOC Media Advice Manager, +64 4 471 3104 or +64 27 295 3809.