Safer journeys ahead for godwits and redknots
The epic 12,000km journey made by some of New Zealand’s favourite migratory birds from the Coromandel to the Arctic is set to become safer.
Last week UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee agreed that parts of China’s Yellow Sea and the sanctuaries it provides for migratory birds will become a World Heritage site.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage welcomed the announcement at the Pukorokoro Miranda Shorebird Centre yesterday.
The UNESCO agreement, supported by New Zealand, paves the way for protection of these important stopover sites for New Zealand’s migratory native birds in the Yellow Sea.
The specific sites the birds use will be part of a Yellow Sea World Heritage proposal to be developed by China with support from other partners in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.
The East Asian-Australasian Flyway for migratory birds extends from Awarua Bay in the south of New Zealand and crosses China on its way to the North Slope in Alaska.
An agreement signed in May will see the Department of Conservation and China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration work together to protect, manage and restore wetlands where red knots, godwits and other migratory shorebirds stop to feed during annual migrations between New Zealand and their breeding grounds.
The work being undertaken at the Firth of Thames is also being supported by work at other internationally important shorebird sites such as the Avon Heathcote Ihutai Estuary. The Government is also actively developing new rules and practices to improve the water quality in our rivers and streams.
This will have a direct impact on the coastal wetlands that knots and godwits use as non-breeding areas in New Zealand and help secure their long-term survival as some of the planet’s most remarkable travellers.