5:00 AM Monday Nov 23, 2015
The loss of our native birds from the wild has been revealed in its full extent for the first time, with a bleak and sweeping stock-take showing major hits for most endemic species.
But keeping our birds in large numbers can be achieved for a realistic price, says the Landcare Research scientist who has presented the startling figures to top ecologists.
A comparison of monitoring data, collected over periods in the 1970s and early 2000s, showed significant falls in well-known species such as brown kiwi, kokako, kaka, rifleman, tomtit and blue duck, or whio.
"The species that have been hit the hardest are the ones found nowhere else in the world - so there's a strong relationship between loss and endemism," Dr Susan Walker told the Herald. "That seems to be because they have these traits which make them very vulnerable to predators - their breeding simply can't keep up with the rate of predation."