Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Orokonui Wildlife and Native Bush Reserve

The Visitor Centre at the Orokonui Wildlife and Native Bush Reserve. The exclusion fence
can be seen winding over the hill before the Centre.
I recently contributed a blog entry on New Zealand's protection of endemic species to NiCHE (Network in Canadian History & the Environment). Here I've added a few more photos of the featured Orokonui Wildlife and Native Bush Reserve to highlight that organization's work.

Ensuring the continuing survival of the unique endemic species in New Zealand generally means the protection of remnants of their habitat. Many off shore islands have been cleansed (see the NiCHE blog for details on this) but on the mainland it means the control and exclusion of invasive species. At Orokonui they've built an fence, an impressive display of "Oh no you won't get in here."
Hine Rangi, an Elder of the local Maori hapu (~clan), Kati Huirapa Runaka ki Puketeraki, spoke at the re-introduction of a number of the threatened Otago skink. In addition to welcoming the skink back to their home she noted her iwi's (~First Nation) recognized claim to almost the entire South Island of New Zealand, the beaches and seabed of the adjacent oceans, the sub-Antarctic islands and the coast of Antarctica, which the ancestors had visited on occasion.
One of the skink ready to be released into their stony habitat.
Sue Hensley of the Reserve staff filling me in on the history and purpose of Orokonui.
Many endemic species habitat areas throughout New Zealand are protected spaces. This sign bounds a penguin sanctuary near Moeraki on the South Island's Pacific Coast.

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