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Supporting shorebirds’ 24,000km flight

Profile

On 18 March 2016, Associate Conservation Minister Nicky Wagner welcomed an agreement between the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the State Forestry Administration (SFA) of China to protect wetlands in both countries used by migratory birds.

“The red knot and the bar-tailed godwit fly an incredible 12,000km migration each way from New Zealand to China and beyond to their breeding grounds, before returning to New Zealand – a round trip of at least 24,000km each year. Today’s agreement ensures these remarkable birds can continue their journeys,” Ms Wagner says.

“The Memorandum of Arrangement (MOA) enables our two countries to work together to protect wetlands used by red knots, godwits and other migratory shorebirds during their annual migrations.

“The red knots breed in Siberia, the godwits in Alaska, and both species stop to feed at wetlands in China, before flying to their breeding sites.

“The agreement allows for ongoing cooperation to protect and restore several wetlands used by the birds, including Pukorokoro-Miranda on the Firth of Thames, where the agreement was signed today. Thousands of red knots and godwits spend the summer at Pukorokoro-Miranda and will soon leave to begin their migration.

“The agreement also protects a seven kilometre stretch of coastal mudflat and salt ponds in Bohai Bay, Hebei Province, used by red knots, and a wetland in the Yalu Jian Nature Reserve near Dandong, Northern China, used by godwits.

“As well as DOC and the SFA, today’s signing has support from Ngati Paoa iwi, Pukorokoro-Miranda Naturalist Trust and Fonterra. It is inspiring to see co-operation at so many levels to help these incredible birds on their journeys,” Ms Wagner says.