Conservation & restoration
Since our innovative fence was erected in 1999, 13 pest mammal species have been successfully excluded and over 40 locally or nationally-threatened plant and animal species have been reintroduced. Many of Zealandia’s species have been reintroduced as part of a national species recovery programme, and many more have dramatically increased in number since pest mammals were eradicated.
Karori Sanctuary Trust, which manages Zealandia, is internationally-acclaimed as one of the leading ecological restoration projects in Australasia. We have made major breakthroughs in the recovery of endangered wildlife on mainland New Zealand by establishing the world’s first predator-fenced urban conservation project and facilitated many valuable research papers.
Already, since 1995, we have:
- Successfully eradicated and excluded an unprecedented 13 species of exotic mammal (including cats, rats, possums, weasels and goats).
- Pioneered a unique mammal-proof fence that has since provided the template for at least 14 other projects across New Zealand.
- Carried out the first successful translocations of tuatara, little spotted kiwi, hihi, saddleback, Cook Strait giant wētā and Maud Island frog back into a wild state on mainland New Zealand.
- Released further species that have been extinct in the local area for many years.
- Been awarded the New Zealand Tourism Award for Conservation in Action in 2008; the Ministry for Environment Green Ribbon award in 2006 and the Skal Ecotourism award in 2005.
- Been voted one of the top 25 ecological restoration projects in Australasia.
And these are just a few our achievements! For more information on the conservation and research work we undertake here in our sanctuary, take a look through the pages listed here.
Why NZ’s nature needs help
Evolving in a world without mammals for 80 million years, New Zealand’s extraordinary flora and fauna was ill-equipped to cope with the arrival of human settlers and the exotic species the brought with them. In the last 750 years almost half of our vertebrate fauna and an untold number of invertebrate species have disappeared forever. While habitat loss, and competition have undoubtedly played their part, predation and browsing by exotic mammals has played by far the biggest part in this catastrophic loss.
The list of New Zealand species known to have become extinct since human settlement includes one bat, at least 51 birds, three frogs, three lizards, one freshwater fish, four plant species, and a number of invertebrates. (Source: Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand).
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (ICUN) lists New Zealand among the five worst countries with threatened birds as a percentage of total number of native bird species exceeding 15%. Not surprisingly, the other four contenders, the Philippines, Mauritius, Madagascar and Hawai’i, are all island nations like ours with high endemism.
Extinctions are not a thing of the past. Habitat loss, competition for food, pollution and mammal predation are all still taking a heavy toll on New Zealand’s unique native wildlife. As recently as 2007, conservationists declared the South Island kōkako extinct after decades of fruitless searching.
Karori Sanctuary Trust is part of a nationwide conservation movement working hard to reverse 750 years of decline and stop any more species going the way of the South Island kōkako.
How you can find out more about conservation at Zealandia:
- Visit! Take a guided tour with our Ranger Guides for an overview of our conservation work and spend some time in our natural history museum: The Exhibition.
- Come along to one of our regular public events and meet the experts who work with some of NZ’s rarest wildlife. Keep an eye out on our events page or sign up for regular newsletters.
- Book a school visit with our Education team.
- Take a look at our latest news.