The article above highlights the importance of monitoring the health of our native species. The article is relevant, considering the recent news around ambitious government plans to make NZ pest free by 2030, and the state of our waterways.
What are our canary species? The first that comes to mind is the fairy tern, which is under threat from introduced species such as rats, stoats, dogs and cats. Organisations such as DOC and the New Zealand Fairy Tern Charitable Trust are striving to maintain and improve on breeding numbers. Rural Design sees the restoration of habitat (Natural coastal shrub-land and dune restoration) as important to helping the fairy tern survive.
The next question.......What would be our keystone species? The Black-billed and Red-billed Gull (Seagulls as we know them). If so the news isn't good. Population of both coastal species are on the decline. The Black-billed Gull especially is under threat. Predominantly found in the South Island, the bird has recently expanded as far north as our own Kaipara Harbour.
The information above and associated linked articles, underline the importance of restoring our catchment systems with native vegetation; to provide natural habitat for our fauna, and to filter what is ending up in our estuaries, harbours and oceans.