IMPORTANT NOTICE: WAIKATO BIODIVERSITY FORUM – COVID-19 UPDATE
We have been fielding some enquiries from community groups regarding COVID-19 Level 4 restrictions and how this affects the work of community groups doing ecological restoration.
Sanctuaries of New Zealand Inc. have defined essential work within ecological sanctuaries as the work that directly impacts animal welfare and active threatened species programmes that cannot be deferred can be considered essential work, including pest proof fence checking and breach management, wildlife supplementary feeding and critical animal pest control functions. See here how Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is handling this situation.
For community groups that are not managing large sanctuaries, restrictions are different. Click here to see a useful article from the NZ Mountain Safety Council about activities in the bush during Alert Level 4. A few summary points are below:
· Don’t drive anywhere to go for a walk, check traps, plant trees etc.
· You can get out for fresh air or exercise like a walk or run in your neighbourhood. But these must all start and end at your home with no driving required and you must always keep your distance (minimum of 2 metres) from all others at all times (except for people in your household/bubble). Please avoid touching gates or other hardware too.
· If your trap or bait line/planting/weeding areas are on your property, then we encourage you to maintain these (whilst ensuring social distancing requirements). This will make a real difference to the habitat of native species that are close to your home and will make the job of restoration a little less onerous when things return to normal. It’s also good for keeping your spirits up!
· If your trap or bait line is in on public conservation land or other public land – please leave it alone for as long as Alert Level 4 or any other restrictions remain in place. Why? Because this takes more time than a simple walk and it is best to minimise the time you spend in these areas to reduce the likelihood of coming into contact with other people, and also the likelihood of injury which would require other people to help you.
See what the Department of Conservation are doing about their operations during this time.
Government/local government agency offices are shut at this time but staff are still working and normal communication channels remain open (0800 numbers, email, websites etc.).
We are fortunate that this time of year the risk to our bird-life is reduced as the breeding season has concluded for most of our species. We hope each of you are safe and well among the current challenges COVID-19 has brought, and we recognise your passion and willingness to continue to support our native taonga and places. We encourage you to continue to connect with others online during this time, including us!
Please keep safe, and refer to the central government website www.covid19.govt.nz for up to date information, resources and additional support.
The Waikato Biodiversity Forum is a partnership between community groups, landowners, iwi, research and government agencies to help halt the loss of biodiversity in the Waikato region