Book: Paradise Saved

09/07/2014 0 By Gayle Dickson

paradise savedby Dave Butler, Tony Lindsay, Janet Hunt | Penguin | RRP$55 | 15 August 2014

Paradise Saved – The remarkable story of New Zealand’s wildlife sanctuaries and how they are stemming the tide of
extinction.

It is too soon to say extinction is over in New Zealand. Where there is no pest management in the forests and national parks we are losing native species at an alarming rate. But a revived national consciousness of critical species decline has given new hope. Scientists have responded with pioneering techniques to help clear offshore islands of introduced pests, providing havens for dwindling populations. In the wake of their success, the same strategies and techniques of predator control have now been applied on the mainland. Sanctuaries have appeared all over New Zealand, with thousands of volunteers answering the call to help support and run them.

We’ve all heard of Tiritiri Matangi and Zealandia is well known throughout New Zealand. Since they were established, more than 1000 more wildlife sanctuaries have sprung up, large and small, all around New Zealand, where control of predators has meant that native birds, reptiles, bats and invertebrates can now breed safely. Many now have such abundant bird life that the stock is harvested every year for release in other bird sanctuaries to build up their populations. Paradise Saved tells the story of 135 sanctuaries around the country – including those at Maungatautari near Te Awamutu, Ark
in the Park in the Waitakere Rangess, Little Barrier, Tawharanui near Leigh, Orokonui near Dunedin and many more.

And new ones will continue to emerge now that scientists are working out the most effective ways to bait and trap and to keep possums, rats and stoats out. Some are fenced and others keep predators under a level of control by regularly trapping or poisoning with greater effort round the perimeter. Around the country, the thousands of New Zealanders who volunteer at these sanctuaries are making a successful attempt to protect native birds and also to reintroduce them to areas where they had been extinct.

Paradise Saved tells the gripping story of how we are turning back the tide of extinction. It is a celebration of pioneering science and a national survey of the sanctuaries, large and small. For each sanctuary, up to date information is included on where to find them, how to visit and how to do your part. It’s not all plain sailing however and the book discusses the various challenges involved.

With photographs from some of New Zealand’s best wildlife photographers, Paradise Saved is a stunning and inspirational account of New Zealand’s sanctuaries, that will appeal to all those who love our beautiful country. It is a fitting tribute to the many people who give up their time to look after sites up and down the country, whether to restore a complete forest or work to protect a single nest of a rare species. All are playing vital roles in a movement whose scale is only now being recognised.

Dr David Butler has worked in conservation for more than 20 years, first for the New Zealand Department of Conservation including heading up one of its first mainland island projects, and more recently as a self-employed consultant focused on bird conservation and the management of pest animals, particularly in the South Pacific. He also chairs the board overseeing one of the larger sanctuaries near Nelson.

Tony Lindsay has spent the last 30 years working in, observing and supporting the New Zealand conservation sector. As a campaign advocate, he has led countless fundraising appeals for conservation projects around New Zealand.

Janet Hunt is a writer, academic and award-winning natural history and environment author. Her previous books include Wetlands of New Zealand, A Bird in the Hand, and From Weta to Kauri: A Guide to the New Zealand Forest.