Minister marks World Wetlands DayConservation
Conservation Minister Dr Nick Smith today marked this year’s World Wetlands Day with the launch of a new stamp in the Game Bird Habitat Collection Series.
“The Game Bird Habitat Stamp programme is aimed at raising funds to protect and enhance the habitat of our game birds. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to enable New Zealanders to give direct support to a great cause,” Dr Smith says.
The 2014 stamp features the pukeko, painted by landscape and wildlife artist Jeanette Blackburn, and the background habitat on the stamp is the Para Wetland in Marlborough. As well as the stamp, this year’s collection includes other related items such as a miniature sheet, first day cover and a limited edition signed Artist Print.
The items are sold through New Zealand Post to collectors and also used by Fish & Game to endorse hunting licences, with the funds raised going towards habitat conservation projects.
“This is the 21st collection in the series, with the programme having raised $1.5 million towards habitat protection and enhancement to date. Through the Game Bird Habitat Trust, these funds have supported many projects on both public and private land,” Dr Smith says.
World Wetlands Day is celebrated internationally on 2 February each year to mark the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands, which recognises the value of wetland sites around the world.
“In the past, wetlands were drained and reclaimed to create more space for farming. But today, the true worth of wetlands for agriculture and its wider benefits for both the environment and wildlife are being acknowledged.
“Wetlands play an essential role in providing valuable ecosystem services such as water purification of farm runoff, recycling nutrients, protecting land from flood damage, and recharging groundwater aquifers – as well as offering recreation opportunities and supporting a rich diversity of wildlife.
“Wetlands support the greatest concentrations of bird life of any habitat in New Zealand and support far more species than a comparable forest area.
“We’ve long recognised that the key to sustainable wildlife management and biodiversity is good habitat – look after the habitat and the birds and fish will have a better chance of thriving,” Dr Smith says.
More information on the Game Bird Habitat Collection Series can be found at: http://stamps.nzpost.co.nz/shop/other-products/game-bird-habitat-collection.