We don’t want to get all doom and gloom on you but our biodiversity is not in a great state. Actually, that’s being generous. Things are quite dire and numerous reports (like Environment Aotearoa 2022) say biodiversity decline is our biggest issue.
In Taranaki, that means native plants and animal species are in trouble, such as the kaka and yellow crowned kakariki, who no longer have viable numbers to sustain wild populations.
There are 66 animal species in Taranaki that have been identified to be nationally threated or at risk of extinction. The Maui’s dolphin and Kupe skink are some that are almost extinct locally. Fifty plant species in Taranaki are also threatened and at risk.
Habitat loss – land clearance and draining wetlands – has historically been the main pressure on biodiversity. Now, small losses of habitat can have a large impact on remaining biodiversity because it is more vulnerable to fragmentation and edge effects. Less native vegetation means less habitat for native plants and animals. Then, there is the risk posed by invasive plant and animal species. Throw climate change in the mix and our native ecosystems need all the help they can get.
So why should we care? Let me count the ways. How about for our kids and grandkids? Or because killing of ecosystems is bad. Too judgy? Because our lives depend on these habitats and the planet for our continued existence. Too heavy? Because we should – for our family, community, wellbeing and for all the native plants and animals out there that make our world a beautiful place.
We can make a difference. We can see that our trapping efforts lead to more birdsong in our backyards, and species, such as kiwi and kōkako, getting reestablished from areas they’ve disappeared from. The more we work on this together the better opportunity we have for making real gains.