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In the wilderness lies the preservation of the world.
Henry David Thoreau

Limestone Island

Hello dear Wildblog readers, I am staying on the beach and looking over the bay, where I can see a little island. Far away I discover a boat, which is approaching me. Ben is beckoning me – I am hopping into the little boat and the trip begins, to Limestone Island. That was the beginning of my little journey to this small island. There is a conservation project, small but nice. This island is located nearby Whangarei, a town northern Auckland. The cement industry settled there many decades ago, on the one hand to use ‚limestone‘, on the other hand to export this rock easily. The consequences for this little island were serious – only 30 trees survived, the rest was changing into a moon like landscape. After the time that the cement business was not lucrative anymore was the starting time of the Limestone Island rangers. Over 200,000 trees were planted up to today, with the help of a lot of volunteers. Because of this tree planting, the island is now effectivley like real nature. But to plant trees is only one part of the work of the Limestone Island Rangers. Ben, leader of the project, told me a lot about conservation in New Zealand in concerning to this project: Conservation in New Zealand is very different compared to other countries. The country is still very natural and the government is doing a lot to save these remaining areas. Around 30 % of New Zealands area are in property belonging to the Department of Conservation. So there are less problems with the direct destruction of nature. Instead of that the real problems are imported animals and plants. Both these things have a very bad influence of the local flora and fauna. That’s why conservation organizations have one importent aim in New Zealand: To destroy all the invasive plants and animals. The easiest way to do this is to ensure that there are functional quarantine zones on islands and peninsulas. So there are often fences on peninsulas to stop harmful animals, which for example are coming from Australia or Europe. Because of their remoteness, parts of New Zealand are excellent places to save local nature. And that is the reason why there is a conservation project on Limestone Island. On this island there are still three species of endangered geckos, as well as saurians and the rare kiwi bird. Furthermore there are breeding grounds for other species of birds – when they are old enough they are transported to the mainland. Without this help a lot of birds would die, because new animals from other countries are very dangerous for them. Such other animals are for example stoats, possums, rabbits, hedgehogs or weasels. To save the little island from those animals there are a lot of traps – 35 all over the area. Between one and two animals, which swim to the island, are caught per year. While I am writing this article, I am sitting in a little house and looking over the bay in front of Whangarei. After a successful land restoration this is a very neat place. This organization is a partner of the Wildblog now too. If you also want visit New Zealand and support the Wildblog with articles, you are very welcome to go to Limestone Island. Here you can learn a lot about conservation and the Limestone Rangers are looking forward to any help (e.g. as volunteer during restoration projects). For more information feel free to visit this website (with a new layout soon): www.limestoneisland.org.nz/ Best wishes from the beautiful New Zealand. :) Best regards Josef

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