After decades on the back foot, native biodiversity is returning to Tāmaki Makaurau. The efforts of Urban Ark volunteer groups in the inner west, and individuals doing the right thing in their own patch, is starting to tip the balance as we move towards a Pest Free Auckland 2050.
But we’re starting from a low base. Nationwide, something like 80% of our native birds and almost 90% of our native lizards are threatened with extinction. Here in Auckland, there are few (and very small) remnants of native forest left, birds are mostly introduced, weeds are all over the place, and geckos and lizards are mostly seen hanging out of the mouths of cats.
By trapping pests, weeding pest species and nurturing native plants we hope to lure native species back. Fortunately, there are places nearby where the work of past generations of conservationists has ensured a future for our native bird species. Many Hauraki Gulf islands are predator-free and are close enough to Auckland for birds to spill over onto the mainland. To the west, in the Waitākere Range, Ark in the Park is another biodiversity hotspot. Unfortunately, many native birds will only fly 2.5km or less between habitats, so we need to make sure there are suitable stopping places throughout our region.
The North-West Wildlink ties these elements together into a biodiversity corridor with Urban Ark – Manawa Taiao is on its fringes.