NEWS


 

Environmental DNA

What is it?

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How do we monitor wildlife that we can’t always see, particularly in water? The answer is environmental DNA (eDNA).  This process works by collecting water samples that get tested for trace elements of DNA left by the species living in the habitat. By gaining a better picture of what lives where, we can start to understand how we might create a healthier environment.

"As good as it gets"

An article by ZEALANDIA Storyteller, Libby Clark

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My blinkers have been removed.  

Until recently, my love for and commitment to Zealandia has largely been focused inside the fence. Sure, I knew about the halo effect: how kākā are now all over Wellington, how tīeke are nesting in Polhill Gully, how kererū and kākāriki frequent Karori, how tūī are a common sight and sound in our gardens. 

And I had heard of Sanctuary to Sea, with a vague understanding that it was about the Kaiwharawhara Stream. 

Now that my blinkers are off, a whole new perspective has opened up for me. With the Sanctuary to Sea project, Zealandia’s ‘Living with Nature’ kaupapa has embraced an aspirational and transformative focus beyond the fence. 

 

 

ZEALANDIA’s COVID-19 update

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With today’s announcement that New Zealand is moving its COVID-19 response to Level 3 now, and to Level 4 in 48 hours, we have made the decision to close ZEALANDIA to the public, members and volunteers, effective immediately. This includes the visitor centre, Rātā cafe, and the sanctuary itself.

Our priority at this time is the health and wellbeing of our visitors and our team, and we are making this difficult decision in order to help protect our community. We will remain closed for the next four weeks, as directed in the government’s advice today.

Tuna/eel release to keep population thriving

Article by Elizabeth Hibbs

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Last week the tuna/eels living in the wetlands and streams at ZEALANDIA – Te Māra a Tāne were captured and released downstream beyond the sanctuary. As part of the Roto Kawau/lower reservoir restoration project, rangers worked alongside mana whenua, Taranaki Whānui, to carry out the translocation. Read on to find out what’s the issue with eels and why we need to do this. 

Encouraging dragonflies with freshwater ponds

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Dragonflies are beautiful and live amazing lives but they are in trouble worldwide. 

ZEALANDIA has several species of dragonflies and damselflies and we are playing our part to encourage them. We are currently hosting Ruary MacKenzie-Dodds and Kari de Koenigswarter, UK dragonfly ambassadors, to survey the dragonfly populations found in the sanctuary, and educate those at ZEALANDIA about dragonflies and their freshwater habitat. Ruary and Kari will also be giving a public talk on Tuesday, 18 February.

 

Predator Free Wellington - ZEALANDIA’s halo effect and what you can do to help

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It’s quiet…too quiet.  

When Captain Cook first anchored off New Zealand, the dawn chorus was described as “deafening”. Where did the birds go? Why aren’t there kōkako in Karori? Hihi in Ohariu?  

Terrestrial mammalian predators first arrived in New Zealand with people. Over the years, rats, weasels, stoats, and ferrets have established themselves here, and taken a deadly toll. New Zealand birds are particularly vulnerable as many species nest on the ground or in tree hollows, which are easily attacked. Flightless birds are also at risk, as their evolutionary response to threats is to freeze rather than flee.  

Citizen Scientists help nurse Kaiwharawhara Stream back to health

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Wellington’s Kaiwharawhara Stream might be polluted now, but citizen scientists are helping restore it to health.  

In a recent survey of the stream’s estuary by Sustainable Coastlines, 2400 pieces of mostly plastic rubbish, were collected and analysed by volunteers. Coastal clean-ups, such as those coordinated by Sustainable Coastlines, have inspired the Kaiwharawhara Catchment Plastics Project, led by Dr Amanda Valois of NIWA. 

Native fish ‘hidden treasures’ in the Kaiwharawhara Stream

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Our native fish are among the hidden treasures of New Zealand’s animal life because they are seldom seen. Yet the Kaiwharawhara Stream catchment is known to have 13 species of fish out of the 21 in the Wellington Region. 

‘Sanctuary to Sea/Kia Mouriora te Kaiwharawhara’, a multi-stakeholder restoration project co-ordinated by ZEALANDIA staff, aims to improve fish habitats throughout this important catchment. Beginning within the ZEALANDIA sanctuary, the catchment is the largest in Wellington city, covering over 16 square kilometres.  

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