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Reaction to the native birds announcement

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 31/05/2017

Reaction has come from far and wide at the announcement on Wednesday that 80 per cent New Zealand's 168 native bird species are in trouble or danger of extinction.

* Federated Farmers president William Rolleston pointed out that farmers in New Zealand have spent millions of dollars on riparian planting, fencing rivers, managing effluent, dealing with wilding pines and rabbits, and fighting weeds and pests that can aid native bird habitat and populations.

"The challenges we face are enormous and the future of our native birds rests on intelligent planning, prioritisation and the guts to do the right thing," he said.

* Tourism Industry Aotearoa chief executive Chris Roberts said the report is sobering and the loss of native bird species could affect New Zealand's natural environment, which is the foundation of our tourism.

"It is the biggest reason why international visitors come here, it is important to domestic travel and it supports thousands of tourism businesses. Good environmental performance goes hand in hand with a quality visitor experience."

* Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry said the Government had a threatened species strategy due back by the end of July and the detail on its Predator Free 2050 project was still to be unveiled.

Funding could be raised by charging international visitors more to use car parks and huts in national parks, she said.

"We have known for some time that some species are in a critical position.

"The Predator 2050 board will announce a chief executive next week and more detailed work following that.

"There will be a number of initiatives on different levels that will bring the hearts and minds of New Zealanders with us."

* Urban ecologist Dr Heidy Kikillus said the focus on feral cats was commendable but she said domesticated cats should be included in the conversation.

* Conservation geneticist associate professor Bruce Robertson, from the University of Otago, said pioneering work had been done to protect birds, but isolating them on offshore islands eroded the "essential genetic diversity", leading to inbreeding.

* Chief scientist at Landcare Research, Dr Fiona Carswell, said science-based planning could help suppress predators and sustain bird habitats. She recommended more community-based predator control projects to consistently monitor areas.

* New Zealand's Biological Heritage National Science Challenge director Dr Andrew Bryom said Dr Wright's report drills down to the important elements and offered a pragmatic approach to predator control.

* Professor Phil Seddon from the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago said the report is a "call to aggressive action" and alternative management responses to the ones in place now must be looked at.

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