Leadership on climate needed to protect our wildlife and our way of life

Around 500 Forest & Bird supporters marched from Albert Park to Myers Park in Auckland to demand a target of 40 per cent emissions reduction from 1990 levels within the next 15 years, and carbon neutrality by 2040.​

Forest & Bird President Andrew Cutler says our wildlife are at the forefront of climate disruption.

“New Zealand’s oceans support the greatest number of seabirds in the world, but changing ocean currents and warmer seas are likely to deprive our seabirds of food. Rising sea levels will take away shore and estuary habitat, and it won’t just be beach home owners that will be forced out of their homes.

“The difference is that people can retreat inland, while our marine life can’t.”

“There are many examples of wildlife and our wild places taking the first hit for climate change, and urgent action is needed now to manage the effects of climate disruption,” said Mr Cutler.

Our most endangered shore bird – the New Zealand fairy tern- of which there are only around 40 left, nest on shingle banks.

Hoiho/yellow-eyed penguins are on the verge of extinction. Since 2012, the population has plummeted from 491 breeding pairs to an estimated 190 pairs this year. There are a number of reasons for this, but one of them is mass starvation that science suggests is due to climate disruption,” said Andrew Cutler.

Our endangered tuatara will be affected by rising land temperatures as more male tuatara will be born unbalancing an already unstable population. Climate disruption will cause increased drought, extreme winds, and higher fire risk - threatening our forests, and the wildlife in them.

According to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's (PCE) new report ‘Preparing for rising seas', within 50 years, ten thousand New Zealand families will have been forced out of their homes by rising sea levels, along with the erosion of key coastal infrastructure and businesses.

To protect our wildlife, and our way of life, NZ needs leadership on climate protection. Today, hundreds of Forest and Bird supporters, and thousands of New Zealanders asked for bolder targets and a plan to tackle climate disruption” said Andrew Cutler.

"Current targets will be a disaster for wildlife, and tens of thousands of homeowners. It’s time to take real action," he added.v