Conservation Minister Maggie Barry today announced an eco-sanctuary will be created on Farewell Spit in a partnership between DOC and natural health and wellness retailer HealthPost.
Ms Barry says Collingwood-based HealthPost aims to raise $100,000 a year to fund ecosystem restoration and native species protection on Farewell Spit and adjoining public conservation land.
“Farewell Spit is internationally important as a wetland and sanctuary for migrating wading birds and it has the highest level of protection as a Nature Reserve. More than 90 bird species live in its diverse habitats that include salt marshes, mudflats and sand dunes,” Ms Barry says.
“The new partnership will enhance the exceptional Farewell Spit ecosystems and its pest control will also contribute to our goal of making New Zealand predator-free by 2050.”
“The initial phase of the project will focus on 900-hectare area at the base of Farewell Spit. It includes forest and wetlands and takes in the cliffs around Cape Farewell which are home to colonies of seabirds, including fairy prions, petrels and shearwaters.”
“Trapping will control pests including possums, rats and stoats and small fenced pest-free areas for seabirds will also be established on the cliffs, particularly to protect the birds from wild pigs.”
“Once predators have been reduced, it is aimed to reintroduce species such as brown teal/pāteke and the rare Nelson green gecko,” Ms Barry says.
HealthPost staff have already begun planting native species such as spinifex and sand coprosma in the dunes near Triangle Flat.
“The Wharariki and Triangle Flat area attracts an estimated 70,000 plus visitors a year and this ecosystem enhancement will give them the thrill of seeing thriving native wildlife on the coast and in the forests and wetlands,” Ms Barry says.
“It’s expected to be able to extend the project to Farewell Spit itself within five years to the cover 3,000 hectares.”