Partnership continues conservation for Waitakere Ranges

Auckland Council, Forest & Bird, and Forest & Bird’s Waitakere branch today announced they will continue their partnership to deliver the ‘Ark in the Park’ conservation project at Te Wao nui o Tiriwa (Waitakere Ranges) for the next ten years.

The agreement, originally signed by the former Auckland Regional Council, is to enhance the biodiversity and ecosystems across approximately 2,100 hectares of the Waitakere River Catchment of the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park.

Whau Ward Councillor Ross Clow welcomes this agreement acknowledging its importance saying, “‘Ark in the Park’ allows us tō work together tō restore the indigenous biodiversity of the Waitakere Ranges, increase advocacy and engage Auckland communities.”

Honē McGregor, Chief Executive Officer of Forest & Bird, which co-ordinates the Ark’s volunteers, says they are “looking forward to working together with Auckland Council to help us protect Auckland’s biodiversity for future generations.”

Under the previous agreement, at-risk species were able to be reintroduced into the Waitakere Ranges – including popokatea (white head), toutouwai (robin) and kōkako. The new agreement will allow further enhancements of the native biodiversity, with a vision to release more ‘at-risk’ species into the area, where and when appropriate.

Tō encourage the breeding of native wildlife found in this area, the agreement has extensive pest management plans in place to control rats, mice, possums, stoats and weasels.

The agreement recognises the cultural importance of the area, supporting and recognising tangata whenua involvement in the project.

The ‘Ark in the Park’ project has grown from humble beginnings starting with a small group of enthusiastic people, increasing to 600 volunteers and twice weekly volunteer sessions. The volunteers are involved in baiting, trapping, clearing, monitoring, public awareness, data entry and analysis.

To get involved in ‘Ark in the Park’ and become a volunteer visit the Ark in the Park website at
http://www.arkinthepark.org.nz/